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Washington state charges alleged neo-Nazi leader after Texas traffic stop turns up guns

Kaleb Cole, the alleged leader of a local Atomwaffen Division group, was barred in Washington from having guns in October.

Prosecutors in Washington state have filed a weapons charge against a man who has been called a leader of a neo-Nazi group and was barred from possessing firearms in the state.

Kaleb Cole, the alleged leader of the Washington cell of the Atomwaffen Division, was in a car in November when authorities in Texas discovered firearms and about 2,000 rounds of ammunition, according to court documents.

Cole, 24, faces a misdemeanor charge of unlawful possession of a firearm by a person prohibited by an extreme risk protection order, according to court documents filed Monday in King County, Washington.

He was barred under a state "red flag" law in October from possessing firearms. Authorities at the time seized five rifles, three pistols and other gun components. Cole was not charged at the time.

Under the misdemeanor charge, Cole can be arrested only in Washington state, NBC affiliate KING of Seattle reported. Bail was set at $20,000, but he has not been arrested.

The maximum penalty for the misdemeanor charge is 364 days in jail, a $5,000 fine and the possibility of a five-year extension of the extreme risk protection order, the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office said.

It was not clear whether Cole had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

The charge stems from a Nov. 4 incident in which Cole and his passenger, who is also alleged to be an Atomwaffen Division member, were stopped for speeding in Post, Texas, in Garza County about 40 mile southeast of Lubbock, according to court documents filed in Washington.

The passenger, Aiden Bruce-Umbaugh, 23, appeared "nervous and fidgety," and deputies saw "the handle of a machete or bowie knife sticking out of the middle console," KING reported, citing a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Texas.

Authorities found weapons that included an AR-15 rifle and two AK-47 rifles, according to a criminal complaint filed against Bruce-Umbaugh in Texas. Small amounts of marijuana and THC oils were also found, according to the documents.

It does not appear that Cole was charged.

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Court documents filed in Washington say that "military style rifles" and a handgun were found under the passenger seat and that Cole knew they were there and was violating the state order.

Bruce-Umbaugh and Cole were asked whether they planned on doing some shooting soon, and both said yes, according to the documents.

Bruce-Umbaugh said that the guns and drugs were his and that he and Cole were traveling from Washington to Houston to meet friends, according to a criminal complaint filed in Texas.

The U.S. attorney's office for Northern Texas said in November that a federal grand jury had indicted Bruce-Umbaugh on a charge of possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of a controlled substance.

Federal court records show that Bruce-Umbaugh is being held pending trial. His attorney has argued that he has no criminal history and presents no flight risk, according to court documents.

An email to a lawyer listed as representing Bruce-Umbaugh was not immediately returned Wednesday night.

There is no national red flag law. Washington prosecutors sued to get Cole's guns by invoking the state's red flag law and seeking an "extreme risk protection order."

Seventeen states and Washington, D.C., have laws allowing family members or police to remove weapons from people who may be dangerous, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Prosecutors in Texas say that the Atomwaffen Division is a neo-Nazi hate group and that propaganda videos entered in evidence "spew hateful rhetoric against Jews" and "depict members of the AtomWaffen Division at self-described 'hate camps' practicing hand-to-hand combat and shooting firearms."

Prosecutors in Texas have argued in court documents that Bruce-Umbaugh is an "active member" of the group.