Neo-Nazi group member who crossed Minnesota border sentenced to 9 years

A neo-Nazi group member who allegedly plotted an attack after crossing the border illegally into Minnesota has been sentenced to nine years in prison.

FBI agents arrested former Canadian Armed Forces reservist Patrik Jordan Mathews and two other members of a group called The Base four days before a pro-gun rally in Virginia in January 2020. Surveillance equipment installed in their Delaware apartment captured Mathews and fellow Base member Brian Mark Lemley Jr. discussing an attack at the rally at Virginia’s Capitol in Richmond.

Prosecutors say the men planned to carry out a massacre inspired by their white supremacist ideology. Defense lawyers say an undercover FBI agent tried in vain to bait them into developing a plan for violence.

The judge who sentenced Mathews to prison concluded that he and Lemley intended to engage in terrorist activity. Lemley was also sentenced to nine years in prison.

The case highlighted a broader federal crackdown on far-right extremists.

Mathews had disappeared from his Manitoba home in August 2019 after national media reports about his alleged involvement in The Base. His pickup was later found near the Canadian side of the border north of Roseau, Minn.

U.S. prosecutors allege that Mathews unlawfully crossed the Manitoba-Minnesota border on August 19, 2019, and was picked up by the other men in Michigan 11 days later.

Twenty-one-year-old William Garfield Bilbrough IV had already been sentenced to five years for helping to transport Mathews.