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FBI arrests 3 alleged neo-Nazis ahead of big Virginia gun rights rally

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  • The FBI has arrested three alleged members of the neo-Nazi hate group The Base, The New York Times first reported Thursday.
  • The men who were arrested were reportedly 27-year-old Patrik Jordan Mathews, a former Canadian soldier who entered the US illegally; 33-year-old Brian M. Lemley Jr., a former US Army soldier, and 19-year-old William G. Bilbrough.
  • They were arrested in Maryland ahead of a major gun-rights rally in Virginia amid growing concerns about violence reminiscent of the 2017 white supremacy march in Charlottesville.
  • Reuters reports that the men were armed with firearms and hoping to start a race war. The Times reports that they had discussed attending the gun-rights rally and were anticipating a possible race war.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The FBI has arrested suspected members of a neo-Nazi group who were armed and anticipating a race war, one of whom was a missing ex-Canadian soldier who allegedly snuck into the US, the New York Times reported Thursday.

The three men, suspected members of a hate group known as The Base, were arrested in Maryland ahead of a major gun-rights rally in Richmond, Virginia scheduled for next Monday.

Concerned about the possibility of violence, such as deadly events of the 2017 white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency Wednesday and banned all firearms and weaponry from Capitol Square, NPR reported. “We have,” he said, “received credible intelligence from our law enforcement agencies that there are groups with malicious plans for the rally that is planned for Monday.”

The event, which is being hosted by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, is expected to attract thousands of demonstrators responding to efforts by Virginia Democrats to pass stronger gun laws.

The three men who were arrested Thursday, according to The New York Times, included 27-year-old Patrik Jordan Mathews, a former Canadian soldier who entered the US illegally; 33-year-old Brian M. Lemley Jr., a former US Army soldier, and 19-year-old William G. Bilbrough.

All three are believed to be members of The Base, especially Mathews who is said to be a recruiter. The online hate group has become a priority for the FBI, former law enforcement officials told The Times, along with another group known as Atomwaffen.

Lemley and Bilbrough were reportedly charged with transporting and harboring an illegal alien, Mathews in this case, along with conspiracy. Mathews, an explosives expert, disappeared in December after being discharged from the Canadian military over alleged ties to The Base. His car was found 10 miles from the US border.

Vice reported that Mathews had been smuggled into the US by members of The Base.

Lemley and Mathews are, The Times reported, facing charges of transporting firearms and ammunition with the intent to commit a felony. Mathews was also charged with illegal entry into the US and possession of a firearm and ammunition.

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