Two Delaware men associated with a group called The Base were sentenced on Friday to nine years each in federal prison on charges including illegally transporting firearms and harboring illegal aliens with an intent to ignite civil war, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware and Maryland.
Brian Mark Lemley, Jr. of Newark, and Canadian national Patrick Jordan Mathews, recently of Newark, pleaded guilty to charges in both Delaware and Maryland, including obstruction of justice, for destroying cellphones when FBI agents raided their Delaware apartment in January of last year.
Federal prosecutors in Maryland recommended a 25-year prison sentence for Lemley and Mathews at a court hearing earlier this month, calling them “domestic terrorists” who prepared for a civil war, talked about assassinating a Virginia lawmaker, and discussed how to break racially fueled mass shooter Dylann Roof out of death row.
Mathews pleaded guilty to four counts that carried a combined total of 50 years in prison and Lemley pleaded guilty to seven counts punishable by a maximum of 70 years.
A third co-defendant and member of The Base, 21-year-old William Garfield Bilbrough IV, of Denton, Maryland, pleaded guilty in December for helping Mathews illegally enter the U.S. from Canada in 2019. He was sentenced to five years in federal prison.
Audio and video evidence obtained from their Delaware residence during the FBI raid on Jan. 16, 2020, revealed that the three men had begun preparing for violence weeks before a scheduled gun rights rally in Richmond, Virginia, on Jan. 20, 2020.
They were captured, according to prosecutors, talking about a pro-firearms rally in Virginia, where they and other like-minded confederates would begin systematically murdering and destroying rail lines and power lines in order to bring the capitulation and demise of the U.S. government, initiating the Boogaloo — a term used as a code word for a second civil war.
On Jan. 7, 2020, according to court documents, the defendants told an undercover FBI employee about what was happening in Virginia, and that they “expected 60,000 militia to show up in the capitol” on Jan. 20, 2020 and were “rolling for chaos,” Lemley told the FBI employee.
“It’s just that we can’t live with ourselves if we don’t get somebody’s blood on our hand,” he said, according to court documents.
During the raid, agents found several videos of Mathews espousing violent, anti-Semitic, and racist language. Many of the videos discussed killing people in furtherance of “the movement,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware and Maryland.
Members of The Base have been a leading proponent of “accelerationism,” a fringe philosophy that advocates using mass violence to hasten society’s collapse.
Since 2018, the group has built a coalition of white supremacist members within the U.S. and abroad through online chat rooms, in-person meetings, propaganda, and military-style training, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware and Maryland.
The Base’s accounts on social media repeatedly posted content promoting terrorism, lone-wolf attacks, and a white ethnostate.
“I daydream about killing so much that I frequently walk in the wront (sic) directions for extended periods of time at work,” Lemley wrote during a chat with other Base members in 2019, prosecutors said.
In encrypted chat rooms, members of the neo-Nazi group discussed their military-style training camps and attacking minority communities, including Black and Jewish people, according to prosecutors.
“Lemley, Mathews and others in The Base were assembling firearms and collecting thousands of rounds of ammunition with the intent to commit violence in furtherance of white nationalism and the downfall of the American state” said Erek L. Barron, United States Attorney for the District of Maryland.
The case against the three men charged in Maryland was part of a broader investigation into The Base. In January 2020, authorities in Georgia and Wisconsin had arrested four other men linked to the group.
Mathews, Bilbrough and Lemley were also arrested in April 2021, where according to their plea agreements, they had gone to a regional training camp conducted by Base members in Georgia. They were charged with livestock theft and aggravated animal cruelty which the authorities described as a ‘”ritual sacrifice”.
As per Friday’s sentencing, Lemley and Mathew’s nine-year jail time will be followed by a three-year period of supervised release for firearms and alien-related charges as per federal guidelines.
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