Seattle, Washington - A Washington state man pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal hate crime and conspiracy charges in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.
Cameron Shea, 25, a leader of the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division, pled guilty to federal conspiracy and hate crime charges for threatening journalists and advocates who worked to expose anti-Semitism.
Shea pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to commit three offenses against the United States: interference with federally-protected activities because of religion; mailing threatening communications; and cyberstalking. He also pleaded guilty to one count of interfering with a federally protected activity because of religion.
Shea and three co-defendants were charged with conspiring via an encrypted online chat group to identify journalists and advocates they wanted to threaten in retaliation for the victims’ work exposing anti-Semitism. The group focused primarily on those who are Jewish or journalists of color. The group created posters, which featured Nazi symbols, masked figures with guns and Molotov cocktails, and threatening messages, to deliver or mail to the journalists or advocates the group targeted. Shea messaged the group that he wanted Atomwaffen members in different locations to place posters on their victims’ homes on the same night to catch journalists off guard and accomplish a “show of force.” The posters were delivered to victims in Tampa, Seattle, and Phoenix. Shea mailed posters to several victims, including a poster sent to an official at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) that depicted a Grim Reaper-like figure wearing a skeleton mask holding a Molotov cocktail outside a residence, with the text “Our Patience Has Its Limits . . . You have been visited by your local Nazis.” Two of Shea’s co-defendants, Ashley Parker-Dipeppe and Johnny Roman Garza, previously pled guilty to the conspiracy charge and were sentenced. The fourth co-defendant, Kaleb Cole, pled not guilty and is awaiting trial.
Shea will be sentenced on June 28. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for the hate crime charge and five years for the conspiracy charge.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces in Tampa, Seattle, Houston, and Phoenix with assistance from National Security Division Counterterrorism Section Trial Attorney David Smith and the Seattle Police Department.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Michael J. Songer of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Woods of the Western District of Washington with assistance from the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in the Middle District of Florida, Southern District of Texas, District of Arizona, and Central District of California.
As U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland recently stated: “[The Justice Department] will persist in our efforts to investigate and appropriately prosecute those who attack members of our communities, set fire to places of worship, or use the Internet to threaten bodily injury to other persons because of their real or perceived protected characteristics.”