The leader of a white supremacy group based out of Seattle has been linked to an arrest in Texas.
The Garza County Sheriff's Office arrested Aiden Bruce-Umbaugh in the parking lot of a restaurant in Post, Texas. He was inside the vehicle of a known leader of the Neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen.
Chapter one: The Arrest of Bruce-Umbaugh
According to the arrest affidavit obtained from the FBI, a deputy pulled over a speeding Ford Focus just before 1:30 p.m. on November 4.
The driver of the car was identified as Kaleb Cole, leader of the Texas branch of the white supremacy group known as "Atomwaffen". Bruce-Umbaugh was identified as the passenger and a member of the same group.
The deputies began talking to the two men and noted Bruce-Umbaugh appeared nervous and fidgety. He also answered for Bruce-Umbaugh on multiple occasions when deputies asked questions.
Both men also denied any illegal items like drugs being in the car.
Deputies noticed the two were wearing combat/tactical gear and saw what appeared to be the handle of a machete or bowie knife sticking out of the middle console.
When asked if there were any weapons inside the car, Bruce-Umbaugh told officers there were rifles in the back. The deputies then told the two men to step out of the vehicle for safety purposes.
Cole at this time told officers they did not have consent to search the car, so the deputies requested a K9 unit respond to the scene.
The K9 begin to search and honed in on the back of the Focus. Bruce-Umbaugh then told officers there was a small amount of marijuana in the car as well as THC oils in the trunk.
Officers then searched the car and found a pistol, several rifles, two grams of THC oils and a small canister of marijuana. Between 1,500 and 2,000 rounds of ammunition were also seized from the car.
Bruce-Umbaugh told deputies the firearms all belonged to him, which Cole seconded. He also admitted to exclusively owning the marijuana and THC oils.
Based on these admissions, deputies arrested Bruce-Umbaugh. On November 5, he was interviewed by an FBI special agent.
The agent asked him how often he smoked marijuana, to which he responded "every day" but stated that he didn't consider himself to be a "stoner".
Bruce-Umbaugh also told authorities he and Cole were traveling from Washington state to Houston to meet with some friends.
Based on this statement, officers believe the firearms traveled across state lines.
The FBI has charged Bruce-Umbaugh with being in possession of a firearm while being an unlawful user of a controlled substance.
Cole was not arrested during this process.
Chapter two: Who is Kaleb Cole?
Kaleb J. Cole, 24, has admitted to being one of the leaders for the white supremacist group "Atomwaffen".
According to a 2018 report by ProPublica, the organization has members in at least 23 states, with the biggest groups apparently being found in Texas, Washington and Virginia.
Cole is the leader of the Washington group, residing in the town of Blaine as of 2018. He reportedly helped organize training sessions in Washington and Nevada.
Police reported in 2015 that he had been harrassing a Jewish grocery store in the island town of Anacortes.
NewsWest 9's sister station King 5 News reported in October 2019 that Seattle police seized military-style firearms belonging to Cole in a residence in Arlington.
Cole was not charged with a crime, but prosecutors and the FBI convinced a judge that he posed a serious threat to public safety. A Seattle detective also testified that Cole had the machinery and parts to produce homemade firearms.
The judge ordered Cole to surrender all firearms to police and put him under an Extreme Risk Protection Order due to the red flag gun laws in the state of Washington.
Cole has also been banned for life from Canada according to King 5 News.
Chapter three: What is Atomwaffen?
Atomwaffen, which is a German for “atomic weapon,” is a small but extreme organization that claims to follow Adolph Hitler and admire Charles Manson, who ordered mass murders to attempt to trigger a race war.
Members have been charged in five murders in other states, including the death of 19 year old Californian Blaze Bernstein. Bernstein, a gay Jewish man, is believed to have been stabbed to death by member Samuel Woodward.
ProPublica identified John Cameron Denton of Mongtomery, Texas as the leader of the entire organization.
The group appears to be heavily inspired by the works of neo-Nazi activist James Mason.
Atomwaffen has been holding "hate camps" or firearm training sessions in various states including Texas over the past couple of years, depicted in the group's propaganda videos.
Perhaps most chilling is the group's belief that there will be a race war, and that while they won't start the war, they will be prepared when it happens.
Chapter four: What are red flag gun laws?
What exactly are the red flag gun laws that allowed the weapons to be confiscated from Cole?
The laws allow judges to remove firearms from people who are deemed a threat to others or themselves. Depending on the state family members, school officials and law enforcement can obtain a court order to have the guns removed.
The orders are known under various names including Extreme Risk Protection Orders, Gun Violence Restraining Orders and risk warrants.
Implementation of the laws spiked after the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
The District of Columbia and 17 states have implemented a version of the laws as of August 2019, while four other states have been considering them. Colorado, Nevada and Hawaii were the most recent states to adopt one of these laws.
New York has one of the strictest red flag gun laws in the United States. It was signed into law early 2019.
Texas currently has no active red flag gun laws, nor any proposed bills. Governor Greg Abbott has discussed them in the past, asking lawmakers to implement them in the wake of the 2018 Santa Fe school shooting before backing out.
President Trump also called for red flag gun laws to be put in place after the 2019 shootings in Texas and Ohio, but did not endorse any particular legislation of this type.
Opponents of the laws, including the NRA, argue that they are unconstitutional and violate the second amendment rights of U.S. citizens
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