ARIZONA NEWS

Valley man pleads guilty to neo-Nazi threats against journalists

Sep 9, 2020, 9:15 AM
(AP Photo)...
(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

SEATTLE — A Neo-Nazi has pleaded guilty in federal court in Seattle to a charge that he conspired to threaten journalists.

Johnny Roman Garza, 21, of Queen Creek, Arizona, entered the plea by video conference Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Seattle to one count of conspiracy to mail threatening communications, to commit cyberstalking and to interfere with a federally protected activity.

Garza was one of four members of the Neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division charged early this year with having cyberstalked and sent Swastika-laden posters to journalists and an employee of the Anti-Defamation League, telling them, “You have been visited by your local Nazis,” “Your Actions have Consequences,” and “We are Watching.”

Garza admitted that as part of the conspiracy he located the Phoenix apartment complex where a member of the Arizona Association of Black Journalists lived and went there last January intent on leaving the threatening posters. According to the plea agreement, however, Garza could not find a suitable place to put the poster. He then traveled to the home of an editor at a local Jewish publication and affixed a poster to the bedroom window.

The same day, other members of the conspiracy mailed or delivered posters to targets in Washington state and Florida, authorities said.

Investigators warned several of the intended victims before they received the intimidating communications, indicating that they were monitoring the people making the threats.

Garza faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced in December.

The trial date for the other defendants has been delayed by the COVID pandemic. They include Kaleb J. Cole, against whom Seattle police obtained an “extreme risk protection order” last fall, seizing nine guns from his home. They said Cole had “gone from espousing hate to now taking active steps or preparation for an impending ‘race war.’ ”

Those steps including organizing paramilitary-style “hate camps” in Nevada and Washington, investigators said.

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Valley man pleads guilty to neo-Nazi threats against journalists