Newly unsealed court exhibits from the prosecution of a white supremacist from Olympia show how federal investigators have been targeting The Atomwaffen Division, a particularly violent neo-Nazi group that has roots in Washington state.
Video and audio recordings helped make the case against Aidan Bruce-Umbaugh, who pleaded guilty last month to gun and drug crimes in federal court in Lubbock, Texas.
“I assume you’re here because of my swastika flag and firearms,” Bruce-Umbaugh told Texas officers and the FBI in a videotaped interview after his arrest.
The recordings were released after KING 5 legal counsel filed a motion to access the evidence, after it was sealed by a judge concerned about pre-trial publicity.
Bruce-Umbaugh and the suspected leader of Atomwaffen’s Washington cell, 25-year-old Kaleb Cole of Arlington, were stopped for speeding in Post, Texas in November.
Garza County sheriff’s deputies uncovered a small amount of drugs, several firearms and 2,000 rounds of ammunition.
Cole, who is not allowed to possess weapons after he was served last fall with an order under Washington’s “red flag” law, was released by deputies after Bruce-Umbaugh said the drugs and firearms were all his.
Court recordings seem to show he took the fall for Cole.
“I should have told them it was Kaleb,” Bruce-Umbaugh said on a jailhouse phone call to a woman in Washington state.
“I said ‘Well, it was all mine.’ And since he just had his guns taken, I wasn’t about to say they were his,” Bruce-Umbaugh said on the recordings. “He’s been my best friend for life. I’m not gonna throw him under the bus,” he added.
“You did raise me. It wasn’t to be a rat,” Bruce-Umbaugh said to his mother in Washington state.
Atomwaffen (the German term for “nuclear weapons”) is a small group of white supremacists scattered across the U.S.
Propaganda videos posted online show members training with firearms in the Washington wilderness. The group, which is inspired by the teaching of Adolph Hitler and mass-murderer Charles Manson, says it is preparing for a bloody “race war.”
“The nice thing about the jail is that it’s already pretty segregated, you know,” Bruce-Umbaugh said in one of the phone calls recorded in a Texas detention center.
Federal prosecutors in Lubbock used the recordings to show that Bruce-Umbaugh is an active Atomwaffen member, which he denied at the time of his arrest.
In one recording, Bruce-Umbaugh admitted that he was photographed with Cole in 2018 during a European tour of various Nazi historical sites.
One photo seized by U.S. Customs when they returned to the states shows Cole and Bruce-Umbaugh wearing Atomwaffen masks and giving a thumbs-up in front of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz.
“(unintelligble) sent photos of me and Kaleb at Auschwitz to, like, everybody,” Bruce-Umbaugh said on a recorded call.
In addition to his mother, Bruce-Umbaugh also spoke with his girlfriend.
“Oh, God, Aidan. Don’t even say that,” Edie A. Moore said when Bruce-Umbaugh implied he might have opened fire on the deputies who stopped his car if they hadn’t “caught me off guard.”
Washington Department of Health records show that Edie Moore is a registered nurse in Washington. She has ties to Alaska and Hoquiam.
KING 5 has been unable to reach her for a comment.
Moore is not suspected of any crimes, but court records show she traveled to Europe with Cole and Bruce-Umbaugh in 2018 as they visited Nazi sites.
The Bruce-Umbaugh case also shows how federal authorities have targeted several white supremacist members who have been preparing for violence.
Bruce-Umbaugh has no prior criminal record. Had he not been a drug user, he would have been legally allowed to possess the firearms and the ammunition. However, under a little-known statute he was convicted as a “prohibited possessor” of firearms – much like a felon would be treated. The law says that active drug users are prohibited from possessing firearms.
Since Bruce-Umbaugh admitted that the marijuana and the firearms seized by Garza County sheriff’s deputies were his, prosecutors could charge him with a gun crime instead of a low-level drug case.
As a result, Bruce-Umbaugh faces up to ten years in federal prison when he’s sentenced in April.
After the November arrest, the King County Prosecutor’s Office charged Kaleb Cole for violating the red flag order that he not possess weapons.
Cole remains at large.