By Christine Clarridge / The Seattle Times
A suspected neo-Nazi with ties to Washington is facing a federal gun charge after being arrested in Texas earlier this month.
When they were stopped for speeding Nov. 4, Aidan Bruce-Umbaugh and Kaleb Cole were wearing tactical gear and had a Sig Sauer 9mm pistol, an AR-15 rifle, two AK-47 rifles, at least 1,500 rounds of ammunition and a small amount of marijuana and THC oil, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Bruce-Umbaugh, 23, was in the passenger seat and said the guns and drugs belonged to him. He was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury, charged with possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of a controlled substance. Cole, whose own weapons were seized last month in Arlington, apparently was not arrested.
Both men are believed to have connections to a neo-Nazi hate group called the Atomwaffen Division, according to a news release from Erin Nealy Cox, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. The FBI and other investigators around the country have been working to crack down on members of Atomwaffen, which has been linked to a series of killings, according to The New York Times.
Bruce-Umbaugh “avoided eye contact and limited conversation” with law enforcement during the traffic stop and initially denied having anything illegal inside the vehicle, according to the criminal complaint as cited by the DOJ.
Neither he nor Cole, who was driving, is legally allowed to possess firearms. Cole’s cache of weapons in Arlington was seized last month by Seattle authorities, who accused him of “preparing for a race war.” The FBI in Seattle had sought a civil extreme-risk protection order against Cole over the summer to require him to surrender his guns, KING-TV reports. Bruce-Umbaugh and Cole also have previous addresses in Whatcom County, records show.
Prosecutors say Bruce-Umbaugh had spoken about his affiliation with Atomwaffen and discussed a photo taken of him and another Atomwaffen member at the Auschwitz concentration camp, prosecutors said in a detention hearing Wednesday. Cole recently traveled with Bruce-Umbaugh to the death-camp site, KING-TV reported.
Prosecutors have submitted as evidence videos that “spew hateful rhetoric against Jews” and show the Atomwaffen members at “self-described ‘hate camps’” practicing hand-to-hand combat and shooting firearms.
If convicted of the gun crime, Bruce-Umbaugh faces a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison.
“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.”
While Washington state court records spell Bruce-Umbaugh’s first name “Aidan,” Department of Justice records spell his first name “Aiden.” The Seattle Times could not immediately resolve the discrepancy.