A federal judge in Washington state has sentenced to prison for 16 months a member of a group called the Atomwaffen Division, a coalition of Neo-Nazis who were accused of threatening and intimidating journalists who exposed anti-Semitism.
The Department of Justice said Johnny Roman Garza, 21, pleaded guilty to “conspiring with other Atomwaffen members” to commit three different crimes, interfering with federally protect activities, mailing threatening communications and cyberstalking.
Eric Dreiband, an assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Division, said the United States and other nations “fought a global war to rid the world of murderous threats and violence by Nazis.”
“The nation and its allies defeated Nazi Germany, but Nazi-inspired threats and violence continue to plague this nation and others 75 years after the end of World War II,” he said.
“The defendant threatened a Jewish journalist and conspired to intimidate journalists and advocates who worked to expose anti-Semitism around the country.”
He said treats motivated by religious intolerance are unacceptable, “and so too are threats aimed at those who work to end such discrimination.”
“The Justice Department will continue the fight against neo-Nazi-related threats and violence and is committed fully to investigating and prosecuting anyone who commits hate crimes.”
FBI spokesman Earl Camp explained Garza and his conspirators “targeted and intimidated journalists from minority groups with communications threatening violence.”
In his plea agreement, Garza admitted that he conspired with the other defendants via an encrypted online chat group to identify journalists and advocates to threaten in retaliation for the victims’ work exposing anti-Semitism.
The DOJ said the group focused mostly on journalists and advocates who were Jewish or people of color. Garza explained that the plot was designed to “have them all wake up one morning and find themselves terrorized by targeted propaganda.”
Specifically, authorities explained, on Jan. 25 Garza placed a poster on the bedroom window of a prominent Jewish journalist “that depicted a figure in a skull mask holding a Molotov cocktail in front of a burning home.”
“The poster contained the victim’s name and address, and warned, ‘Your actions have consequences. Our patience has its limits. … You have been visited by your local Nazis.'”
Among the agencies working on the case was the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.
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