(December 9, 2020 / JNS) A member of the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division was sentenced on Wednesday to 16 months in prison and three years of supervised release for his role in a plot to threaten and intimidate journalists and advocates who worked to expose anti-Semitism.
Johnny Roman Garza, 21, previously pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington to conspiring with other Atomwaffen members to commit three offenses against the United States: interference with federally protected activities because of religion, mailing threatening communications and cyber stalking.
“The United States and other nations fought a global war to rid the world of murderous threats and violence by Nazis. The nation and its allies defeated Nazi Germany, but Nazi-inspired threats and violence continue to plague this nation and others 75 years after the end of World War II,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. “The defendant threatened a Jewish journalist and conspired to intimidate journalists and advocates who worked to expose anti-Semitism around the country.”
Brian Moran, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington, said that although Garza “did not hatch this disturbing plot, he enthusiastically embraced it, researching addresses for journalists and those who oppose hate in our communities.”
In his plea agreement, Garza admitted that he conspired with the other defendants via an encrypted online chat group to identify journalists and advocates to threaten in retaliation for the victims’ work exposing anti-Semitism. The group focused primarily on journalists and advocates who were Jewish or people of color.
In a message to the other co-defendants, Garza said a plot was designed to “have them all wake up one morning and find themselves terrorized by targeted propaganda,” according to the plea agreement.
On the night of Jan. 25, Garza placed a poster on the bedroom window of a prominent Jewish journalist that depicted a figure in a skull mask holding a Molotov cocktail in front of a burning home, according to the plea agreement. The poster contained the victim’s name and address, warning: “Your actions have consequences. Our patience has its limits. … You have been visited by your local Nazis.”
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