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‘I Assume You’re Here Because of My Swastika Flag’: Alleged Atomwaffen Member Pleads Guilty to Gun and Drug Charges

Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.A suspected member of the violent neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen has pleaded guilty to federal charges of smoking weed regularly while possessing guns. Aiden Bruce-Umbaugh, 23, was arrested after a traffic stop in Texas last November. He was wearing tactical gear at the time,…

‘I Assume You’re Here Because of My Swastika Flag’: Alleged Atomwaffen Member Pleads Guilty to Gun and Drug Charges

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A suspected member of the violent neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen has pleaded guilty to federal charges of smoking weed regularly while possessing guns.

Aiden Bruce-Umbaugh, 23, was arrested after a traffic stop in Texas last November. He was wearing tactical gear at the time, and law enforcement found a huge cache of weapons, ammo, a canister of marijuana, and THC oil in the car.

Federal prosecutors released videos this week showing him handcuffed and clad in an orange jumpsuit, talking to investigators after he was taken into custody.

“I have a feeling you guys aren’t here to talk to me about weed,” Bruce-Umbaugh said.

“What do you think we’re here to talk to you about?” the interviewer asks.

“Well, I assume you’re here because of my swastika flag and firearms,” he replies.

Bruce-Umbaugh’s case is yet another example of how federal prosecutors, in the absence of a domestic terror statute, have to stress the potential dangerousness of a neo-Nazi defendant, even if they’ve only been arrested for minor crimes. Prosecutors describe him as a “dangerous individual” due to his alleged affiliation with the Atomwaffen Division. He’s facing a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison — and whether he gets the max will depend on whether the judge agrees with prosecutors’ characterization of him.

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Atomwaffen was founded in 2013 by a group of young white men who met on the neo-Nazi forum Iron March. The group ascribes to a disturbing philosophy called accelerationism, which promotes violence in order to speed up the collapse of society. Members of the group have been linked to at least five murders across the U.S, and have ties to similarly-aligned neo-Nazi groups in Europe, Ukraine, and Canada.

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