SEATTLE — Members of a neo-Nazi group, including former Arlington resident Kaleb Cole, have been arrested and charged with conspiring to harass journalists, churches and a former Cabinet official, among others, with phony bomb threats and other forms of intimidation.
Prosecutors in Seattle announced charges against four alleged members of the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division for cyber-stalking and mailing threatening communications to journalists, including Swastika-laden posters telling them, “You have been visited by your local Nazis.”
The accused include Cole, 24, of Montgomery, Texas, and formerly of Arlington, Washington.
Cole allegedly was part of a plot they dubbed Operation Erste Saule. Authorities say that journalists and an employee of the Anti-Defamation league received posters in the mail with warnings, including “Your Actions have Consequences” and “We are Watching.”
“These defendants sought to spread fear and terror with threats delivered to the doorstep of those who are critical of their activities,” said Brian Moran, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington.
“The group focused primarily on those who are Jewish or journalists of color,” the news release says. Cole allegedly helped to create the posters, which included Nazi symbols, masked figures with guns and Molotov cocktails, and threatening language. Recipients of the posters included KING-TV’s Chris Ingalls, who had reported on Atomwaffen, and two individuals associated with the Anti-Defamation League.
According to the charges, last September Seattle and Arlington police seized nine firearms belonging to Cole at a residence in Arlington. News coverage of the event inspired discussion among the group of the need to “hit back” at news media. “Cole then left Washington state and resettled in Texas,” the criminal complaint says.