FBI agents arrested two Montgomery County men at their home Wednesday as part of a Department of Justice crackdown on racist violent extremists, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Investigators said the men, 24-year-old Kaleb J. Cole and 26-year-old John Cameron Denton, were leaders in Atomwaffen Division, a neo-Nazi group plotting “a nationwide scare” to target minority journalists, Jews, a black congregation, a Virginia university and many more.
The newspaper reported that Cole is accused of targeting minority journalists’ homes with swastika-filled posters, while Denton is accused of tricking emergency dispatchers into responding to several fake emergencies, including a fabricated bomb threat in a New York newsroom and a made-up shooting at a California journalist’s home.
The Chronicle said it appeared that the pair had been on the radar of federal authorities for years before their arrests. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes Atomwaffen Division as “a series of terror cells that work toward civilizational collapse” and promote “violence, depravity and degeneracy” to further those goals.
Both Denton and Cole are alleged to have participated in or helped organize “swatting,” a harassment tactic that tricks emergency dispatchers into sending responders to non-existent, allegedly violent situations at the addresses of unwitting third parties, the newspaper reported.
Prosecutors said that the group made swatting calls to 134 law enforcement agencies in 17 states in November and December of 2018, including to Houston and Harris County police agencies, the Chronicle reported.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy K. Johnson processed their cases in Houston, which will allow cases against them to proceed in other states – Washington for Cole and Virginia for Denton.