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April 30, 2012 Off

FBI Arrests Minnesota White Supremacists on Weapons, Drug Charges

Fol­low­ing a nearly two-year under­cover inves­ti­ga­tion, the FBI arrested two Min­nesota white suprema­cists last week on weapons and drug charges, respec­tively, in con­nec­tion with what author­i­ties have sug­gested was an embry­onic plot to attack the U.S. gov­ern­ment, minori­ties, and “left-wing” targets. 

Samuel John­son, 31, from Austin, Min­nesota, was charged with being a con­victed felon in pos­ses­sion of weapons.  John­son, who had sev­eral con­vic­tions on charges such as rob­bery and attempted rob­bery, was allegedly found to be in pos­ses­sion of at least five firearms.  Joseph Thomas, 42, of Men­dota Heights, was indicted on drug charges related to alleged pos­ses­sion of metham­phet­a­mine. Both men face the like­li­hood of lengthy prison sen­tences if con­victed; it is pos­si­ble more charges may follow.

Accord­ing to a search war­rant affi­davit, the two white suprema­cists may have had vio­lent plans.  The affi­davit alleges that John­son was try­ing to form a new group, the Aryan Lib­er­a­tion Move­ment, with the goal of com­mit­ting vio­lent acts against gov­ern­ment or minor­ity tar­gets.  It also claims that Thomas told the under­cover offi­cer that he had tried to obtain explo­sives and auto­matic weapons in order to “con­duct attacks on left-wing individuals.”

The Anti-Defamation League had been track­ing John­son for sev­eral years, ever since he and another white suprema­cist, Robert Hes­ter, formed a small south­ern Min­nesota chap­ter of the neo-Nazi National Social­ist Move­ment and began hold­ing a series of local anti-immigration protests in 2009. 

John­son has pre­vi­ously expressed that vio­lence is a viable tac­tic.  In an on-line post he made in Decem­ber 2010, he asked “Why don’t we stand up and save our­selves?  Why will we not make the first attack?”  He fin­ished his screed with “Are you ready to fight for your Race and Nation?  THEN WHY ARE YOU STILL SITTING HERE?  GATHER YOUR ARMIES!!!!!”    In July 2011, John­son began try­ing to recruit for his would-be Aryan Lib­er­a­tion Move­ment, post­ing on one white suprema­cist site that “we are try­ing to get some good actions going in this state.”

After Johnson’s arrest, Hes­ter posted an angry mes­sage to a social net­work­ing pro­file cre­ated by the under­cover offi­cer:  “Did your dirty work and took a brother, [exple­tive] u agent.”