DISCLAIMER: This story contains distressing details
Patrik Mathews – a former Manitoba Army reservist and suspected neo-Nazi recruiter – should know if he will spend decades in jail when he is sentenced Thursday morning in Maryland.
The hearing begins at 8:30 a.m. CT in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Mathews pleaded guilty in June to gun charges related to what the FBI described as a neo-Nazi plot to attack a gun rights rally in Virginia last January, which he and his co-accused Brian Lemley Jr. hoped to lead to clashes between police and tens of thousands of heavily armed protesters.
Lemley, with whom Mathews lived in Delaware, is expected to be sentenced the same day.
A US Army veteran who served in Iraq, Lemley also pleaded guilty to many counts, including the illegal transport of a firearm and obstruction of justice.
US prosecutors said the couple wanted to start a civil war that “would decimate racial and ethnic minorities and subjugate women,” according to court documents.
Although Mathews and Lemley Jr. have not been charged with terrorism, prosecutors successfully argued for “improved terrorism” earlier this week, meaning a judge agreed their crimes favored federal crime of terrorism.
The improvement means they could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison.
Mathews was first publicly identified as a recruiter for The Base in 2019 after a secret investigation by Winnipeg Free Press reporter Ryan Thorpe.
He then disappeared after the RCMP searched his home in Beaujeasour.
When the RCMP executed a search warrant at his residence on August 19, 2019, they found a handwritten list of mass shootings in a trash can, which included the year, number of dead, and whether the shooter was taking any medication. revealed court documents.
Mathews then entered the United States and disappeared for several months until he was arrested in Maryland in January 2020.
Planned to attack the Virginia rally
Court documents have revealed that the FBI carried out a clandestine operation from July 2019 when an undercover agent took an online verification interview to be admitted to the base.
The investigation found that Mathews, Lemley and other members of the base held paramilitary training camps in Georgia in September and October, where they conducted tactical training and gun drills.
At the end of the October camp, members posed for photos wearing tactical gear and balaclavas which were then used in The Base’s propaganda using violence to accelerate the overthrow of the US government.
In December 2019, FBI agents obtained court orders allowing them to install a CCTV camera and microphone in the apartment where Mathews and Lemley lived, which captured them discussing their plans to attack the Virginia gathering.
In some of the tapes, which were presented as evidence in court, the couple can be heard of inciting violence and killing people in order to benefit “the movement”.
For example, in one recording, Mathews can be heard talking about killing black people, saying that the group needs to start “getting rid of them wherever they are”.
He was also recorded talking about killing protesters with the left-wing Antifa movement.
“The Antifa have to start disappearing, and they have to start looking over their shoulder and being afraid, and I think the way to do that… is assassination.”
In another recording, Lemley is heard of the murder of a police officer.
“If there’s, like, a po-po cruiser parked in the street and it doesn’t have backups. I can run it on a whim and take all of its stuff.”
Among the documents and items found by FBI agents after they raided the couple’s apartment was a video of Mathews wearing a gas mask and trying to distort his voice.
In court on Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Theodore Chuang said he agreed that the couple’s intercepted conversations discussing a plot to target the gathering in Virginia were more than “wishes. , hopes and distant fantasies “.
He said he was okay with Mathews and Lemley discussing a plan they intended to commit.
“It was not just discussions. There was the intention to go ahead with this type of terrorist activity,” Chuang told the court.
Evidence presented in court shows that the couple subscribed to what is known as the ideology of accelerationism, a belief of white nationalists that accelerating the collapse of society through violence would lead to a ethno-white state, said Elizabeth Yates, senior researcher for the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland.
“They think that at the end of the day, you know, because of their racist views, they think a strong, authoritarian, racist government will be best able to take control and establish a new state,” he said. she declared.
The improvement in terrorism indicates that the judge accepts that Mathews and Lemley were trying to advance these beliefs.
“They are not just waiting for it to happen, they are hoping to take advantage of specific circumstances and events to try to create more violence,” she said.
Yates said members of The Base espouse some of the most extreme and explicitly racist views in the entire right-wing movement.
“Their rhetoric is one of the worst of the worst.”
A third co-accused, William Bilbrough IV, was sentenced to five years in prison last December for helping Mathews enter the United States illegally.
Mathews also faces separate charges for what is described as the ritualistic beheading of an animal during a paramilitary training camp in Georgia.