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5th neo-Nazi charged on swatting allegations

The U.S. Attorney in Seattle charged four neo-Nazis for sending threatening mail and posters. A fifth member was charged with threatening a cabinet official.

SEATTLE — The FBI said John Cameron Denton, who is considered the former head of The Atomwaffen Division in Texas, was responsible for a "swatting" incident at the home of a cabinet member in the Trump administration in 2018.

The New York Times reports that official is former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

Atomwaffen, which is German for “atomic weapon,” is a small but extreme organization that seeks inspiration from Adolph Hitler and Charles Manson, who ordered mass murders to attempt to trigger a race war.

Denton is charged with "conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, that is, to transmit in interstate commerce communications containing threats to injure the person of another." 

Also see | Seattle police create registry to combat 'swatting'

"Swatting" is considered a harassment tactic where a person makes a false report to police dispatchers that people inside a home at a certain address are in immediate danger, according to the FBI. It's been a problem for years and often results in a major police response that may include the SWAT team, hence the name. The danger is that the innocent victims inside, or even the police, can be injured or killed in the resulting chaos.

Denton was arrested in a quiet subdivision outside of Houston, Texas, Wednesday as FBI agents in Washington state and Florida also arrested four other members of Atomwaffen on charges of conspiracy to mail threatening communications and commit cyberstalking. That included a threatening letter sent to KING 5 Investigator Chris Ingalls, who had been investigating the group for months, as well as two members of the Anti-Defamation League in Washington state. 

RELATED: Reporter’s notebook: I was targeted by the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen

The documents were filed under seal against Denton in the Eastern District of Virginia and released once his arrest was made public. 

The criminal complaint and arrest warrant describe Denton as being part of a broader conspiracy that included other individuals and other swatting attacks at Old Dominion University. It also includes two unnamed co-conspirators who are considered foreign nationals.

RELATED: 'My swastika flag and firearms': Washington neo-Nazi faces FBI after arrest