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caption: Raymond Duda, FBI Special Agent in Charge in Seattle, speaks in February 2020 about charges against a group of alleged members of the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division for cyber-stalking and mailing threatening communications, including the posters at right, in a campaign against journalists in several cities.
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Raymond Duda, FBI Special Agent in Charge in Seattle, speaks in February 2020 about charges against a group of alleged members of the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division for cyber-stalking and mailing threatening communications, including the posters at right, in a campaign against journalists in several cities.
Credit: AP

Redmond man gets 3 years in federal prison for neo-Nazi plot to intimidate journalists, activists

A Redmond man was sentenced to three years in federal prison on Tuesday, after pleading guilty in April to conspiracy and hate crime charges for his role in a neo-Nazi plot to terrorize journalists and activists whose work uncovered anti-Semitic hate.

Cameron Shea, 25, is described in federal court documents as one of two ringleaders in the conspiracy and “a high-level member and primary recruiter for the Atomwaffen Division,” an international neo-Nazi organization formed in 2015.

Shea and three co-conspirators are accused of targeting an advocate with the Anti-Defamation League and three journalists — one who is Jewish, one belonging to a local chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, and one from Puerto Rico — in a multi-state effort to “intimidate, threaten, and cause substantial emotional distress” for the victims, court documents state.

Between November 2019 and January 2020, Shea and his co-conspirators used an encrypted chat platform to organize a plan to send threatening mail to their targets in retaliation for past news coverage that published personally identifiable information of Atomwaffen Division members, according to court records.

Shea is quoted in federal charging documents as writing in the online chat that the goal was to “erode the media/states air of legitimacy by showing people that they have names and addresses, and hopefully embolden others to act as well.” Shea also coached his co-conspirators with strategies for evading detection by law enforcement.

The mail consisted of posters, one of which depicted a reporter surrounded by figures holding guns, swastikas, and the phrases “Two can play at this game” and “These people have names and addresses.” Another poster depicts a figure, with a skull for a face, holding a Molotov cocktail framed by the words “Your actions have consequences” and “Our patience has its limits.”

Shea faced up to 15 years in prison, but was ultimately handed down a three year sentence. Following Shea's sentencing in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, several federal officials denounced his crimes in a written statement.

“The Justice Department will continue to aggressively prosecute threats motivated by religious intolerance, and to prosecute defendants like this one who threatened violence against individuals who work to end discrimination,” said Kristen Clarke, the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

Two of Shea's co-conspirators have already been sentenced. A fourth still awaits trial, which is set to take place next month.