POST, Texas — A suspected neo-Nazi with potential ties to a terrorist organization was charged with a gun crime after an FBI investigation.
Aiden Bruce-Umbaugh, 23, was charged with possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of a controlled substance, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
He was originally arrested November 4 after a routine traffic stop in Post found multiple assault rifles and at least 1,500 rounds of ammunition in a vehicle he was a passenger in, according to court documents.
The driver of the vehicle was Kaleb Cole. Kaleb Cole is the same name of the 24-year-old leader of the Atomwaffen Division’s Washington State Cell, according to a ProPublica investigation.
According to a Daily Beast article, Bruce-Umbaugh is also a member of the Washington cell of the Atomwaffen Division.
The Atomwaffen Division, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, is a terrorist national socialist organization that was founded in 2015.
Propublica said the group may have as many as 20 cells nationwide. The largest cells, according to the investigation, are in Virginia, Texas and Washington.
According to court documents, Bruce-Umbaugh pleaded not guilty to the charges while in court on Thursday.
Read below for the full release on Bruce-Umbaugh’s arrest by the U.S. Attorney’s Office:
A suspected neo-Nazi was charged with a gun crime following an investigation by the FBI, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.
Aiden Bruce-Umbaugh, 23, was charged with possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of a controlled substance after he was arrested in Post, Texas, dressed in tactical gear and in possession of multiple assault rifles.
A federal grand jury indicted Mr. Bruce-Umbaugh Wednesday.
According to a criminal complaint filed a week prior, local law enforcement executed a traffic stop for a blue Ford Focus on Nov. 4. The vehicle was driven by Kaleb Cole; Mr. Bruce-Umbaugh was seated in the front passenger seat.
Inside the vehicle, law enforcement allegedly discovered an AR-15 rifle, two AK-47 rifles, a Sig Sauer 9mm pistol, at least 1,500 rounds of ammunition, a small canister of marijuana, and approximately two grams of THC oil.
Mr. Bruce-Umbaugh – who “avoided eye contact and limited conversation” with law enforcement and denied having anything illegal inside the vehicle during the traffic stop– later admitted that the firearms, marijuana, and THC belonged to him, telling investigators he smoked marijuana on a daily basis, according to the complaint.
“Federal prosecutors are committed to enforcing our nation’s gun laws to keep communities safe,” said U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox. “As a drug user, this defendant should never have been allowed to possess firearms.”
“The large amount of weapons and ammunition seized from the defendant is alarming and we understand there is a cause for concern,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno of the Dallas Field Office. “The FBI works with our law enforcement partners daily to protect our communities from harm. We want to reassure the public that swift action was taken to remove weapons from a dangerous individual.”
In a detention hearing Wednesday, prosecutors argued the government had reason to believe Mr. Bruce-Umbaugh is a member of AtomWaffen Division, a neo-Nazi hate group.
In jailhouse phone calls, Mr. Bruce-Umbaugh allegedly referenced his affiliation with “the group” and discussed a photo taken of him and another AtomWaffen Division member at the Auschwitz concentration camp, prosecutors said at the detention hearing.
Propaganda videos admitted into evidence – which spew hateful rhetoric against Jews – depict members of the AtomWaffen Division at self-described “hate camps” practicing hand-to-hand combat and shooting firearms.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. Like all defendants, Mr. Bruce-Umbaugh is innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
If convicted, he faces a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Lubbock Resident Agency and the Garza County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell Lorfing is prosecuting the case.