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December 2, 2020

Prosecutors: Men in gun conspiracy had white supremacy ties

By TOM FOREMAN Jr.

Associated Press

WINSTON-SALEM (AP) — Two men previously charged with conspiring to make and sell illegal firearms also discussed shooting protesters after scouting a Black Lives Matter rally and had participated in live-fire weapons training where participants displayed Nazi symbols, prosecutors said in court documents unsealed Friday.

The U.S. Department of Justice said Paul James Kryscuk, 35, Liam Montgomery Collins, 21, Jordan Duncan, 26, and Justin Wade Hermanson, 21, were charged in a superseding indictment obtained in federal court in North Carolina. Hermanson is a current Marine while Collins and Duncan are former Marines previously assigned to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, the department added in its news release.

While the firearms charges against Duncan, Collins and Kryscuk were previously disclosed, Friday’s release represents the first time prosecutors referred to the group’s “ties to white supremacy.”

Attorneys who represented Duncan, Collins and Kryscuk during proceedings in the case in Idaho didn’t immediately respond to emails asking if they were still involved in the case or could comment on the latest developments.

Don Connelly, a spokesman for the Raleigh-based federal prosecutor’s office, said in an email that he didn’t have further information on attorneys representing the four men.

According to the indictment, Collins posted frequently on the online message board platform called Iron March, which prosecutors said was used by neo-Nazi and white supremacy extremist groups. Collins spoke of recruiting for a group he described as “a modern day SS” located in the Northeast, and in 2016, he posted that he was organizing a paramilitary force.

The indictment said Collins and Kryscuk would eventually discuss the three steps they felt were necessary to effect the change in the country they were seeking, including “knocking down The System, mounting it and smashing (its) face until it has been beaten past the point of death.”

“Second order of business . . . is the seizing of territory and the Balkanization of North America,” Kryscuk wrote in February 2017, according to authorities. “Buying property in remote areas that are already predominantly white and right leaning, networking with locals, training, farming, and stockpiling. Essentially we are laying the framework for a guerilla organization and a takeover of local government and industry.”

“As time goes on in this conflict, we will expand our territories and slowly take back the land that is rightfully ours. … As we build our forces and our numbers, we will move into the urban areas and clear them· out. This will be a ground war very reminiscent of Iraq as we will essentially be facing an insurgent force made up of criminals and gang members,” Kryscuk wrote.

According to the news release, Iron March shut down in late 2017.

From May 2019 to now, the indictment said, Collins made multiple money transfers through his personal account to Kryscuk to buy firearms, including a 9mm pistol and suppressor and a short barrel rifle. Kryscuk then purchased items from vendors to make the firearms and suppressors.

Also, Kryscuk used an alias in mailing the manufactured weapons from Idaho to Jacksonville, North Carolina, the indictment said. Kryscuk also shipped the short barrel rifle, not registered as required by the federal government, to Collins. Duncan, a military contractor, and Hermanson, currently a U.S. Marine, knew of and were in on the conspiracy, prosecutors said.

Collins and Kryscuk recruited additional members, including Duncan and Hermanson, and conducted training, including a live-fire training in a desert area near Boise, Idaho, the news release said. It said that from video footage recorded by the members during the training, Kryscuk, Duncan, and others produced a montage video of their training which showed participants firing short barrel rifles and other assault-type rifles. The end of the video, according to court documents, shows the four participants outfitted in skull masks and giving the “Heil Hitler” sign, beneath the image of a black sun, a Nazi symbol. The last frame bears the phrase, “Come home white man.”

The indictment also described how Kryscuk was within sight of a Black Lives Matter rally on the campus of Boise State University on July 21, initially sitting in his vehicle before driving slowly around the rally for approximately 20 minutes. One month later, Black Lives Matter held another protest in downtown Boise and Kryscuk’s vehicle was in the vicinity for around six minutes, the indictment said.
Shortly afterward, Kryscuk and Duncan discussed their group shooting protesters in Boise, prosecutors wrote.

___

Associated Press writer Jonathan Drew in Durham contributed to this report.

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