By Mike Carter / The Seattle Times
An organizer of a neo-Nazi campaign to threaten and intimidate Jewish journalists and activists in Washington and two other states has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for hate crimes and conspiracy.
Cameron Shea, 25, of Redmond, was a leader of the neo-Nazi hate group Atomwaffen Division. He pleaded guilty in April to two felony counts related to allegations that he and three of his companions cyberstalked and sent posters laden with swastikas to journalists and an Anti-League employee. defamation, telling them: “You have been visited by your local Nazis”, “Your actions have consequences” and “We are watching”.
Two other members of the group, Johnny Garza and Taylor Ashley Parker-Dipeppe, have already pleaded guilty and have been sentenced. Garza was sentenced to 16 months in prison and Parker-Dipeppe was sentenced to jail.
The fourth defendant, Kaleb Cole, the alleged main leader of the group, is fighting in the criminal case and awaiting trial.
Agents dismantled the case with the help of an informant, who claimed Cole had already answered his door in Ku Klux Klan knight costume, including the pointy hood. Court documents contain photographs of Cole with neo-Nazi extremists in Europe posing with head masks outside the gates of the Nazi death camp in Auschwitz.
Court documents indicate that Cole, who grew up in Everett and has family in Arlington, has been permanently banned from Canada, where authorities have determined he was “a member of an organization that may engage in terrorism.”
The word “Atomwaffen” is German for “atomic weapon”.
In passing sentence, US District Judge John Coughenour said “this kind of conduct cannot be tolerated.
“This hateful conduct strikes at the heart of our communities,” said interim US attorney Tessa Gorman for the Western District of Washington. “This defendant’s goal was to scare people into their own homes, and he recruited and encouraged others who joined his disease program. This federal prison sentence underscores the human damage caused by his crimes. “
Shea pleaded guilty in April to one count of conspiring to interfere with protected activities based on religion, sending threatening messages and cyberstalking. He also pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing federally protected activity on the basis of religion.
Shea and his co-defendants are accused of conspiring through an encrypted online newsgroup to identify journalists and those working to identify anti-Semitism, focusing primarily on members of the Jewish faith and journalists of color. The group created hate posters threatening violence and mailed or delivered them the same day to their targets in Tampa, Fla., Phoenix and Seattle, according to court documents. They were arrested and charged in February 2020.
The charges allege that Shea sent posters to several victims, including a poster sent to an Anti-Defamation League official that featured a Grim Reaper-like figure wearing a skeleton mask and holding a Molotov cocktail outside of ‘a residence, with the text “Our Patience Has Its Limits … You have been visited by your local Nazis.”