Ex-Marine in Neo-Nazi Plot Pleads Guilty to Firearms Charge

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  • Ex-Marine in Neo-Nazi Plot Pleads Guilty to Firearms Charge

    Court records indicate that former Marine Corps lance corporal Liam Collins pled guilty to a gun charge after being removed from the military and arrested in connection with a neo-Nazi plan targeting energy facilities in the northwest U.S.

    Collins was one of five people charged in connection with activity on the defunct neo-Nazi message board "Iron March." The others were Army National Guardsman Joseph Maurino and former Marines Justin Hermanson and Jordan Duncan.

    Collins allegedly plotted to manufacture guns, stole military equipment, and tried to recruit veterans for a "modern day SS," according to court documents. Initially, he denied responsibility for the bombing of a power plant and other weapons offenses.

    However, FOX8 WGHP claimed that the guilty plea was for interstate trafficking of an unlicensed handgun. When contacted by Military.com, Collins' counsel remained silent.

    Collins is accused of taking military equipment from Camp Lejeune and sending it to co-defendants when he was a member of an extremist organization operating between 2017 and 2020. Former Marine and current military contractor Duncan amassed data on lethal weapons.

    One suspect was discovered with a handwritten list of prospective locations, and the gang had planned to buy 50 pounds of explosives by 2020. Northwest U.S. power grid components such as transformers and substations were included in the list.

    According to the indictment, the conspirators intended to use thermite, a homemade explosive composed of metal powder and metal oxide that can reach temperatures of over 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit, to blow up electrical transformers.

    George Washington University Program on Extremism scholar Jon Lewis voiced alarm about the case, saying, "This was a cell of violent neo-Nazis who attempted to create 'a modern-day SS' and who plotted to conduct attacks targeting the power grid."

    Collins, who spent three years in the Corps, used the handles "Disciple" and "Niezgoda" when he posted on the Iron March forum. In 2016, he laid out intentions for members of the organization to have military experience in countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Poland.

    A spokeswoman for the United States Marine Corps said in the year 2020 that Collins' early release was the result of a failure to meet the expectations and standards of the Marine Corps.

    Other neo-Nazi veterans like Brandon Russell, a former member of the Army National Guard, have also been arrested for planning assaults on public facilities, so this is not a unique incident. Russell, a member of the Atomwaffen Division, was given a five-year term for explosives possession in 2018.

    Collins, who pleaded guilty in August 2023 as part of a plea bargain with prosecutors, will be sentenced in January 2024. Hermanson and Maurino, two co-defendants, entered into plea bargains in 2022 and 2023; their sentences are still pending. Lawyers for Duncan are still fighting to get the lawsuit dismissed on constitutional grounds.

    This case highlights worries regarding the infiltration of white supremacists into the military as well as the potential for violent extremism to flourish in its ranks.

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