- A Canadian neo-Nazi worked to recruit people for a white supremacist group called The Base in 2019.
- Patrik Mathews and US Army veteran Brian Lemley Jr. were sentenced to 9 years in prison on Thursday.
- Mathews and Lemley were arrested in January 2020 for plotting to attack the Virginia State Capitol.
A Canadian neo-Nazi was one of two people sentenced to nine years each in prison for plotting civil war in the US, the Associated Press reported.
Canadian Armed Forces reservist Patrik Mathews and US Army veteran Brian Lemley Jr. were sentenced on Thursday.
NBC News reported that FBI agents arrested Mathews, Lemley, and William Bilbrough, members of a fringe neo-Nazi group called The Base, a few days before a January 2020 pro-gun rally in Virginia.
The FBI at the time said they were under surveillance for months, NBC reported.
Surveillance equipment that was installed in their apartment in Delaware recorded Mathews and Lemley discussing an attack on the Virginia State Capitol, the AP reported.
Mathews crossed into the US without proper documents and was a main recruiter for The Base, The New York Times reported. He was discharged from the Canadian Army after they learned he had ties to white supremacists.
According to the Counter Extremism Project, an organization that tracks far-right extremists, The Base works to train members to fight in a race war and also encourages the “onset of anarchy so it can then impose order from chaos.”
Lemley was charged with transporting and harboring aliens and conspiring to do so, among other charges. Mathews was charged with being an alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition. They were both charged with transporting a firearm to commit a felony.
US District Judge Theodore Chuang decided to apply a “terrorism enhancement” to Mathews and Lemeley’s charges to increase their prison sentence recommendation after concluding that they planned to engage in terrorist activity, the AP reported. Chuang said the discussions recorded were not just talk among friends but showed the defendant’s willingness to kill people and attack the US.
Law and Crime reported that lawyers for Mathews and Lemley sought a 33-month sentence, but prosecutors asked for a 25-year punishment.
In a court filing, Mathews’ attorneys said the recorded conversations only showed the two made “generally fleeting references to imaginary scenarios without any serious exploration about particular targets or planning operations,” the AP reported.
Prosecutors referred to Mathews and Lemely as “domestic terrorists,” the AP reported.
“Hoping for a civil war that would decimate racial and ethnic minorities and subjugate women, the defendants joined forces with each other and others, studied violence, tested their weapons skills, stockpiled munitions, and supplies, and planned to kill on a large scale in pursuit of their goals,” prosecutors said in a September sentencing memorandum, Law and Crime reported.
The AP reported that Mathews told the judge he regrets befriending “the wrong people.”
“I got involved with people who were extreme, very extreme, and hateful to the point of action,” he told the judge.
Lemely also told the judge he regretted his actions, the AP reported.
“The things I said are horrible and don’t reflect who I really am or who my family raised me to be,” Lemely said, according to the AP. “Murder was never in my heart. Only foolish dreams of war glory and valor.”