Feds say neo-Nazi busted on gun charge had huge arsenal
Washington — A federal judge in Texas released video and audio recordings of a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi who pleaded guilty to illegally possessing firearms after being arrested in tactical gear with multiple rifles, 2,000 rounds of ammunition and drugs during a traffic stop in November.
Aiden Bruce-Umbaugh, 23, is allegedly associated with a neo-Nazi hate group called the AtomWaffen Division, federal prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Texas said. While he is not charged with any hate crimes, videos released by the court indicate he knew why he drew the attention of federal law enforcement.
“I assume you’re here because of my swastika flag and my firearms,” he said to investigators after being taken into custody.
In recordings of jailhouse phone calls, Bruce-Umbaugh claims he is a “political prisoner” and discusses his connection with “the group,” prosecutors said in court. In another clip, he talks about a photo taken of him and another AtomWaffen Division member at Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, and at one point acknowledges he is “a Nazi.”
Bruce-Umbaugh’s defense attorney, Michael King, declined to discuss any connections his client may have with extremist groups.
“As far as the affiliations, we don’t have a comment on any of the alleged associations that Mr. Bruce Umbaugh would have with these organizations,” attorney Michael King told CBS News.
Propaganda videos admitted into evidence include one showing members of the AtomWaffen Division at “hate camps,” shouting, “Race war now!”
Last month, Attorney General William Barr announced a new Justice Department “zero tolerance” policy on anti-Semitic hate crimes. The move came amid a rise in targeted attacks on Jewish communities, including high-profile attacks in New Jersey and New York. Anti-Semitic hates crimes increased about 37% between 2016 and 2017 before dropping slightly in 2018, according to the most recent federal hate crime data.
In January, seven members of a racist extremist group called “The Base” were arrested across the country. A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Texas said Bruce-Umbaugh has no known ties to that organization.
At the time of his arrest, officers found Bruce-Umbaugh wearing tactical gear with an AR-15 rifle, two AK-47 rifles, a Sig Sauer 9mm pistol, and approximately 2,000 rounds of ammunition in his car. Bruce-Umbaugh also had a small container of marijuana and THC oil, a controlled substance. Federal law prohibits users from possessing firearms.
“The Northern District of Texas is committed to keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals,” said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox.
Bruce-Umbaugh is scheduled to be sentenced in April. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to his plea agreement.