Former Canadian reservist with alleged neo-Nazi ties arrested in Maryland

Clay Curtis
January 17, 2020

The FBI has arrested three suspected members of a neo-Nazi group who had weapons and hopes of starting a USA race war, just days before a planned gun-rights rally in Virginia that was expected to draw thousands of people, officials said on Thursday.

Of those arrested, one of the detained was Patrik Mathews, a former reservist in the Canadian Army who US officials say entered the country illegally after Canada kicked him out of the service over his suspected ties to white supremacist groups, ABC News reported.

Canadian officials once considered Mathews to be missing.

Those arrested include two Americans - Brian Mark Lemley and William Garfield Bilbrough IV - and Patrik Mathews, a former reservist in the Canadian Army who prosecutors say entered the US illegally after being kicked out of the service over his suspected ties to white supremacist groups.

Lemley and Mathews could each face a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for transporting a firearm and ammunition in interstate commerce with intent to commit a felony offence.

"We work closely with our worldwide partners and maintain strong relationships with law enforcement agencies around the world", a spokesperson said.

Dave Fitz of the FBI's Baltimore office says Patrik Mathews was one of three men taken into custody this morning.

He was taken into custody in DE on Thursday and is scheduled to appear in court in the afternoon. Mathews illegally crossed over the border into the United States in August, according to the court document.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said in a tweet Wednesday there was credible intelligence from law-enforcement agencies of threats of violence surrounding the pro-gun demonstration planned for Monday.

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Mathews and Lemley were arrested in DE and Bilbrough was arrested in Maryland, according to Marcia Murphy, a spokeswoman for the US Attorney's office in Maryland.

The three men had discussed traveling to a pro-gun rally Monday in Richmond, Virginia, and were preparing for a potential race war, law enforcement officials told The Wall Street Journal, CNN, The New York Times, and other news outlets.

Bilbrough, redheaded and wearing glasses, listened as prosecutors read the charges against him, including transporting and harboring aliens.

In encrypted chat rooms, members of The Base have discussed committing acts of violence against blacks and Jews, ways to make improvised explosive devices, their military-style training camps and their desire to create a white "ethno-state", according to an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent's affidavit. Mathews is seen here in an undated picture from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Winnipeg, Manitoba, last August. The Winnipeg Free Press had reported on his activities with the Base and his service in the Canadian Forces.

Lemley, of Elkton, Maryland, and Mathews, a Canadian national now of Newark, Delaware were arrested in Delware.

The prosecutor also said Bilbrough and Mathews smashed their mobile phones and dumped the pieces in a toilet when federal agents showed up.

The Canadian military's intelligence unit was investigating Mathews for "possible racist extremist activities" for several months, according to the Canadian Department of National Defense.

"Lemley and Mathews used an upper receiver ordered by Lemley, as well as other firearms parts, to make a functioning assault rifle", the U.S. Attorney's Office says, citing an affidavit that FBI Special Agent Rachid Harrison filed in support of the charges. Lemley is also charged with transporting a machine gun and disposing of a firearm and ammunition to a person in the USA illegally. Its agents had set up a camera near the gun range, allowing them to record Lemley and Mathews with the illegal firearm.

Lemley Jr is accused of transporting a machine gun, as well as transporting a firearm and ammunition with intent to commit a felony, according to court documents.

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