Alleged neo-Nazis arrested ahead of VA gun rally

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on January 17, 2020 - Duration: 01:41s

Alleged neo-Nazis arrested ahead of VA gun rally

Three suspected members of a neo-Nazi group were in court on Thursday after the FBI arrested them for possessing a machine gun and planning to incite violence at a gun-rights rally in Virginia on Monday which is expected to draw thousands.

Jillian Kitchener has more.

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Alleged neo-Nazis arrested ahead of VA gun rally

Three suspected members of a neo-Nazi group - known as The Base - appeared in a Maryland court Thursday.

Thatโ€™s after the FBI arrested them for possession of a machine gun and planning to incite violence at an upcoming gun-rights rally in Richmond, Virginia.

Lawyer Robert Bonsib is representing alleged white supremacist, William Bilbrough.

(SOUNDBITE)(English) LAWYER ROBERT BONSIB, SAYING: โ€œI do think based on what the government said in court today that heโ€™s an appropriate candidate for release.

Heโ€™s a 19-year-old man with no prior record.

A life-long Maryland resident and weโ€™ll be arguing next week for his release.โ€ The second suspect - Patrick Mathews - is a Canadian citizen who was a combat engineer in the countryโ€™s Army Reserve.

He had entered the U.S. illegally.

The third suspect, Brian Lemley, is a former calvary scout in the U.S. Army.

Their arrests came a day after Virginia Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency prior to the rally.

(SOUNDBITE)(English) VIRGINIA GOVERNOR, RALPH NORTHAM, SAYING: โ€œNo weapons will be allowed on the capitol grounds... No one wants another incident like the one we saw in Charlottesville in 2017.โ€ That rally in Charlottesville turned deadly - when a white nationalist drove his car into a crowd of counter demonstrators.

And with a spate of recent anti-semitic attacks, the heads of both the FBI and Department of Homeland Security have said that they were taking the threat of extremism more seriously.

Several thousand gun rights supporters are still planning a large rally in Virginia's capital on Monday...in response to the state legislature's push to stiffen gun laws.

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