Four racially motivated violent extremists from across the U.S. were arrested and charged today in U.S District Court in Seattle with a conspiracy to threaten and intimidate journalists and activists, the Department of Justice announced. Today’s arrests and searches by the FBI and local law enforcement are being coordinated by the Department of Justice’s National Security Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in Seattle, Tampa, Houston, and Phoenix.
“These defendants from across the country allegedly conspired on the internet to intimidate journalists and activists with whom they disagreed,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers. “This is not how America works. The Department of Justice will not tolerate this type of behavior.”
“The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida and FBI-Tampa have been focused on identifying and eradicating the threat posed by the Atomwaffen Division both locally and nationally,” said U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez for the Middle District of Florida. “Today’s arrests send a powerful message that the Department of Justice will not tolerate criminal conduct based on hateful ideology. We will continue to work with our partners here in the Middle District of Florida, and elsewhere, to devote our resources to investigate and prosecute those who aim to threaten and terrorize our communities.”
The defendants charged in the conspiracy include:
Cameron Brandon Shea, 24, of Redmond, Washington;
Kaleb Cole, 24, of Montgomery, Texas;
Taylor Ashley Parker-Dipeppe, 20, of Spring Hill, Florida, and
Johnny Roman Garza, 20, of Queen Creek, Arizona.
According to the criminal complaint, the defendants conspired via an encrypted online chat group to identify journalists and others they wanted to intimidate. The group focused primarily on those who are Jewish or journalists of color. Defendants Cole and Shea created the posters, which included Nazi symbols, masked figures with guns and Molotov cocktails, and threatening language. The posters were delivered to Atomwaffen members electronically and the co-conspirators printed and delivered or mailed the posters to journalists or activists the group was targeting. In the Seattle area, the posters were mailed to a TV journalist who had reported on Atomwaffen and to two individuals associated with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). In Tampa, the group targeted a journalist, but delivered the poster to the wrong address. In Phoenix, the poster was delivered to a magazine journalist.
“Today’s announcement serves as a warning to anyone who intends to use violence as intimidation or coercion to further their ideology that the FBI remains steadfast in our commitment to protect Americans from domestic terrorism,” said Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Jill Sanborn. “These nationwide arrests are the result of the robust partnerships among the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces in Tampa, Seattle, Houston, and Phoenix and we appreciate their collective efforts.”
Shea will make his initial appearance on the complaint at the federal courthouse in Seattle at 2 p.m. today. Those arrested in other districts will make their appearances in federal court in those districts and will appear in Seattle on a future date.