Hate group leaders arrested on swatting charges.
Two men from Montgomery, Texas, with alleged ties to a white supremacist group have been arrested in a ‘swatting’ case, including 26-year-old John Cameron Denton, allegedly a former leader of the Atomwaffen Division in Texas, according to the FBI, and 24-year-old Kaleb Cole. Records show Cole was pulled over for speeding in the town of Post, Texas in November 2019, and officers found assault-style weapons and ammo in the vehicle.
According to prosecutors, Denton and Cole lived at the same home and were part of the same organization. Investigators searched that home and took out several large bags they believed contained evidence, including a computer hard drive. The FBI made the arrests as part of a multi-state effort leading to a total of five people being arrested for hate crimes.
Neighbors who witnessed the arrests said they saw a Nazi flag inside the home when police entered. Ethan Martin, a neighbor, said, “There were usually four or five people at the home at a given time,” and that he saw one wearing a “Nazi-Germany style uniform cap on his head at one point…It’s a little weird knowing that’s right next door to you. It’s a little unnerving.”
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) calls the Atomwaffen Divison a “small neo-Nazi group whose members are preparing for a race war to combat what they consider the cultural and racial displacement of the white race.” According to the group, in December 2017, one of the leaders, John Cameron Denton (also known as Vincent Snyder), laid out the group’s intentions online at Siege Culture, stating, “Our responsibility right now is resistance, anything that happens after that we’ll simply adapt to it and work with what we have.”
According to court documents, from November 2018 to at least April 2019, Denton and others in the group conspired together to conduct “swatting” calls. Swatting is defined as a tactic that involves deceiving dispatchers into believing that people are in imminent danger. Denton “conducted three swatting calls that occurred in the Eastern District of Virginia: a Cabinet official living in Northern Virginia on Jan. 27, 2019; Old Dominion University on Nov. 29, 2018; and Alfred Street Baptist Church on Nov. 3, 2018,” the FBI said.
Denton also allegedly “chose at least two other targets to ‘swat,’ including the New York City office of ProPublica, a non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism; and an investigative journalist that produced materials for ProPublica,” according to court documents. Denton allegedly “chose the two targets because he was furious with ProPublica and the investigative journalist for publishing his true identity and discussing his role in Atomwaffen Division,” court documents state.
Denton’s plan was revealed when he met with an undercover officer and unwittingly told that officer of the swatting attempts. Denton had said he used a voice changer during the calls and stated he felt “it would be good if he was raided for the swatting because it would be viewed as a top tier crime, and he felt that his arrest could benefit Atomwaffen Division.”
Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Timothy M. Dunham, Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Division, FBI Washington Field Office, made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Carina A. Cuellar is prosecuting the case. Denton is charged with conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, interstate threats to injure. If convicted, he and faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.