A neo-Nazi who created a terror cell called "Atomwaffen" and kept a framed picture of the Oklahoma City bomber in his bedroom was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday for possessing an explosive device and material.
It was the latest in a recent string of cases linked to right-wing extremists, after it emerged that a white man who attended last year's "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville was charged with terrorism for attempting to wreck an Amtrak train in rural Nebraska.
Brandon Clint Russell, 22, of Tampa, Florida had pleaded guilty to keeping illicit explosives on September 27, 2017.
Russell's cache was discovered when officers from the Tampa Police Department responded to a double homicide at an apartment where he had been living with the alleged shooter, Devon Arthurs, and the two deceased victims, according to prosecutors.
Officers discovered a cooler in the garage containing the explosive HMTD (Hexamethylene Triperoxide Diamine), along with various other explosive precursors, multiple pounds of ammonium nitrate, nitro-methane, empty shell casings, fuses and electric matches in close proximity.
In his bedroom, "officers found neo-Nazi and white supremacist propaganda, including a framed picture of Timothy McVeigh on his dresser," the statement added.
McVeigh was executed in 2001 for carrying out the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people and injured more than 600 others, and has been something of a hero for right-wing extremists since that time.
Russell's closet also contained his own military uniform, firearms and ammunition, and camouflage military-type gear containing the name and symbols of "Atomwaffen," the group he was said to have created with his roommates.
His sentencing came days after a court unsealed documents that showed 26-year-old Taylor Michael Wilson of Missouri, a white supremacist who attended a rally in Charlottesville last year in which one protester was killed, had been charged by the FBI with terrorism for attempting to wreck an Amtrak train.
He "breached a secure area of the train and triggered an emergency stop control panel, applying the emergency brakes and causing the train to stop in an expedited(emergency) fashion," according to the court documents, adding that he had a loaded gun on his person.
Wilson was initially released on bond but a further search warrant and investigation from the FBI led to the discovery of a stash of firearms at his residence and connections to neo-Nazi groups and had expressed an interest in "killing black people."
The attempted train attack took place in October—the same month another white suspect left a jar full of explosives at an airport in North Carolina because he wanted to "fight a war on US soil," according to court documents.
A recent report by the US Government Accountability Office found that violent extremists carried out 85 attacks between September 12, 2001 and December 31, 2016, killing 225 people.