Prosecutors: Alleged Extremist Group Member Crossed Canadian Border into Minnesota

Patrik Mathews, who disappeared near the Manitoba-Minnesota border last summer, has been arrested on the east coast. Patrik Mathews, who disappeared near the Manitoba-Minnesota border last summer, has been arrested on the east coast. |  Photo: Provided by RCMP

Created: January 16, 2020 10:43 PM

A former Canadian Armed Forces reservist who disappeared near the Manitoba-Minnesota border last summer has been found on the east coast and arrested on federal firearms charges.


Twenty-seven-year-old Patrik Jordan Mathews disappeared last August after Canadian media reports about his alleged involvement with a violent extremist group called "The Base."  His pickup truck was found near Sprague, Manitoba, which is just north of Roseau, Minnesota.

The FBI arrested Mathews and two other men on Thursday.

U.S. prosecutors allege that Mathews unlawfully crossed the border on August 19 and was picked up by the other men in Michigan 11 days later.  It's not immediately clear how Mathews made it from Minnesota to Michigan.

Mathews is charged with transporting a firearm and ammunition with intent to commit a felony, as well as being an alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition.  Prosecutors say he had been recently living in Newark, Delaware.

The men who allegedly picked Mathews up, 33-year-old Brian Mark Lemley, Jr. and 19-year-old William Garfield Bilbrough IV, are both charged with transporting and harboring aliens and conspiring to do so. Lemley is also charged with transporting a machine gun and disposing of a firearm and ammunition to an alien unlawfully present in the United States.

A law enforcement official says the men were believed to be planning to attend a pro-gun rally planned for Monday in Richmond, Virginia. The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss an active investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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