Neo-Nazi Sentenced in Intimidation Plot Against Journalists

FBI Special Agent in Charge Raymond Duda announces the arrest of a group of neo-nazis allegedly engaged "swatting" and other attempts at intimidating and threatening journalists. (AP Photo: Ted S. Warren)
AP Photo: Ted S. Warren

Johnny Roman Garza, a member of the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen, received a 16-month prison sentence for his role in a plot to threaten and intimidate journalists and advocates who work to expose anti-Semitism, Justice Department officials announced on Wednesday.

A federal judge in the Western District of Washington state said Garza conspired with other members of Atomwaffen to commit offenses against federally protected activities because of religion, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Garza admitted in a plea agreement to conspiring with other defendants to identify journalists and advocates and then threaten them for their work in exposing anti-Semitism.

“The group focused primarily on journalists and advocates who were Jewish or people of color. In a message to the other co-defendants, Garza explained the plot was designed to “have them all wake up one morning and find themselves terrorized by targeted propaganda,” Justice Department officials said in a written statement.

“On the night of Jan. 25, 2020, Garza placed a poster on the bedroom window of a prominent Jewish journalist that depicted a figure in a skull mask holding a Molotov cocktail in front of a burning home,” the statement continues. “The poster contained the victim’s name and address, and warned, ‘Your actions have consequences. Our patience has its limits . . . You have been visited by your local Nazis.’”

In February, Breitbart Texas reported the intimidation tactics included the mailing of threatening posters to the houses of journalists and making “SWAT calls” to send a large law enforcement response to their homes or places of worship, the complaint states.

“Swatting” is an intimidation tactic where the attacker calls emergency dispatchers and claims people at an address are in imminent danger. The law enforcement agency typically responds with an overwhelming show of force.

Officials said the conspirators included two Texas men — Kaleb Cole, a 24-year-old resident of Montgomery, and John Cameron Denton, a 26-year-old man who also lives in Montgomery, along with two other men.

“While this defendant did not hatch this disturbing plot, he enthusiastically embraced it, researching addresses for journalists and those who oppose hate in our communities,” Brian T. Moran U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington said in the December 9 written statement. “Ultimately in the dark of night, he delivered a hateful, threatening poster — spreading fear and anxiety. Such conduct has no place in our community.”

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s Sunday-morning talk show, What’s Your Point? Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX, Parler @BobPrice, and Facebook.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated to add Garza’s name to the second paragraph where it had inadvertently been left out.

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