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5 alleged white supremacists arrested for targeting journalists

Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Federal officers have arrested five alleged members of the white supremacist group Atomwaffen Division across the country on charges of conspiring to harass and intimidate journalists and activists.

John Cameron Denton, 26, of Montgomery, Texas, was arrested Wednesday morning, accused of conducting so-called swatting calls against a Northern Virginia cabinet official, the New York City office of ProPublica and an investigative journalist who wrote for the non-profit news organization, the Justice Department for the Eastern District of Virginia said in a press release.

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According to court documents, Denton, who also went by the online aliases of Rape, Death and Tormentor, was a leader of Atomwaffen, and is charged with conspiring with several others to harass journalists from November 2018 to April 2019 by having police and emergency services dispatched to a target's residence or office under the false pretense of imminent danger, a tactic called "swatting."

Denton is accused of participating in the three swatting calls and choosing the ProPublica office and its reporter as targets for two of them. Prosecutors said he chose those as targets because "he was furious" with them for publishing his identity and role in Atomwaffen.

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The criminal complaint details how Denton told an undercover officer about his role in the conspiracy and that that he used a voice changer when he made the swatting calls.

"Denton went so far as to state that it would be good if he was 'raided' for the swatting because it would be viewed as a top-tier crime," the complaint reads. "Denton felt that his arrest could benefit Atomwaffen Division."

Denton's arrest also details his alleged role in a multinational swatting and doxing campaign for which John William Kirby Kelley, a 19-year-old university student from Vienna, Va., was arrested in January, according to the Anti-Defamation League, which said it aided law enforcement in its investigation.

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In a separate case, prosecutors said in a press release that four alleged members of Atomwaffen in Washington state, Texas, Florida and Arizona were also arrested Wednesday for conspiring to intimidate Jewish journalists and journalists of color who reported on their group.

According to the criminal complaint, beginning in November 2019 and continuing until Feb. 5, the suspects -- Cameron Brandon Shea, 24, of Redmond, Wash.; Kaleb Cole, 24, of Montgomery, Texas; Taylor Ashley Parker-Dipeppe, 20, of Spring Hill, Fla.; and Johnny Roman Garza, 20, of Queen Creek, Ariz. -- threatened journalists by sending them intimidating posters containing swastikas, other Nazi imagery and messages by mail and plastering them to the homes of their targets.

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Prosecutors said Cole and Shea created the posters, which were transferred electronically to Atomwaffen members to be delivered to the journalists and activists they were targeting.

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In Seattle, Wash., the posters were mailed to a TV journalist who had reported on their organization and two people connected with the ADL, which investigates hate groups. In Tampa, Fla., the posters were delivered to the wrong address but were intended for a journalist. And in Phoenix, Ari., the posters were sent to the office of a magazine.

Parker-Dipeppe is accused of affixing the posters to the front of two residences in Tampa and Garza is accused of delivering the posters in Arizona to the editor of a Jewish publication and a member of the Arizona Association of Black Journalists.

According to the criminal complaint, the Jewish publication editor found a poster glued to his bedroom window that read "Your Actions Have Consequences."

Prosecutors said Denton and Cole were co-leaders of Atomwaffen.

According to the ADL, Atomwaffen is a neo-Nazi group that became active in 2016 whose members are preparing for a race war. The group has been linked to several murders and alleged plots to attack civilians, nuclear facilities and synagogues.

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