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Man pleads guilty to making threats of racial violence

July 1, 2022 GMT

OXFORD, Miss (AP) — A Mississippi man has pleaded guilty to charges that he tried to buy an assault rifle after making racist threats online.

The man pleaded guilty Thursday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Oxford to charges stemming from threats he made on a white supremacist website in late 2020. He wrote that he wanted to “breathe revolution” and kill Blacks, Hispanics and homosexuals, the Daily Journal reported.

The man was affiliated with Atomwaffen Division, an online group that promotes a white supremacist extremist ideology through violence in the hopes of igniting a race war, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Clay Dabbs. He was also a member of a subgroup called the National Socialist Order and communicated on the group’s encrypted online platforms.

Federal agents began tracking his cellphone in the early fall of 2020 after he mentioned online that he wanted to purchase an assault rifle. In July 2021, he bought a Smith & Wesson AR-15 online from a Sevierville, Tennessee, gun shop and arranged to pick up the weapon at a licensed firearm dealer in Nesbit. After the FBI was notified of the purchase, agents secured a warrant during the three-day waiting period required by federal law before a weapon can be picked up.

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U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills accepted the guilty plea but deferred sentencing until Oct. 13.

The charge of sending a threatening communication through interstate commerce carries up to five years in prison and a potential fine of up to $250,000.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a prominent Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, praised the decision Friday.

“We applaud law enforcement authorities for stopping this individual before he could commit acts of bias-motivated violence,” said CAIR national communications director Ibrahim Hooper in a news release. “The threat of racist, white supremacist violence must be taken seriously nationwide.”