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Neo-Nazi leader pleads guilty in journalist threat campaign

Cameron Shea, a leader of the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division, helped organize the campaign of threats against journalists and advocates.

A leader of a neo-Nazi group pleaded guilty Wednesday to a hate crime and another charge in a campaign to threaten and harass journalists and advocates, federal prosecutors said.

Cameron Shea, 25, was among four people charged in the threats that targeted Jews and people of color, and he helped lead the effort that began in 2019, officials said.

As part of the plot, one of the four glued a poster to the bedroom window of an Arizona editor of a Jewish publication. The poster had the editor's name and address on it and read, "Your actions have consequences. Our patience has its limits" and "You have been visited by your local Nazis."

The posters had various slogans. In online chats, Shea helped organize what he hoped would be a nationwide effort.

He said he wanted a "show of force, demonstrating we are capable of massive coordination," according to a plea agreement.

He also mailed the threatening posters to two people with the Anti-Defamation League and a news reporter who had done stories about the neo-Nazi group.

A public defender listed as representing Shea did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Shea pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of interfering with a federally protected activity because of religion, which is a hate crime, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington said in a statement.

He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years on the hate crime charge and five for conspiracy. Sentencing is scheduled for sentencing for June.

He is the third of the four to plead guilty. Kaleb Cole, who is alleged to be the leader of the Washington state Atomwaffen cell, has pleaded not guilty and a trial is scheduled for September. Authorities who seized Cole's guns under a "red flag" law said he appeared to be preparing for a "race war."

The two others, in Arizona and Florida, and who were not the organizers, have renounced their past views and association with the group.

The Atomwaffen Division was added to Canada's list of terrorist groups in February, citing its calls for violence and "hate camps" that involve weapons training.