Seattle Police Seize Weapons From Suspected Leader Of Neo-Nazi Atomwaffen Group

Mary Papenfuss

Seattle police have seized a cache of weapons from a suspected leader of the notorious neo-Nazi Atomwaffen Division whose members have boasted of preparing for a “race war” in America.

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes told NBC Seattle affiliate KING-TV that he believes the action “prevented a massacre.”

Kaleb James Cole, 24, who is believed to be the leader of the Washington state cell of Atomwaffen, was labeled an “extreme risk” in a court order that allowed police to seize the weapons under the state’s “red-flag” law. The statute allows law enforcement to remove guns from people believed to be a threat. Cole, who was not arrested nor charged with any crime, is now prohibited from owning guns for a year under the Extreme Risk Protection Order obtained against him.

“This is a hate-filled human being, but unfortunately one who possesses really alarming numbers of weapons,” Holmes told KING-TV.

Police seized five military-style assault rifles, a shotgun, three semiautomatic handguns and other gun components, according to officials.

The Atomwaffen Division reportedly has several chapters in the U.S. Members have been linked to five homicides, and the group is under investigation by the FBI. Followers hold so-called “hate camps” to share ideology and fighting techniques to prepare for a “race war,” ProPublica has reported.

Cole is an admitted member. Police believe he has helped organize hate camps and provided firearms training, according to court documents.

“It appears that he has gone from espousing hate to now taking active steps or preparation for an impending ‘race war,’” Seattle law enforcement authorities said in their court petition last month to obtain the order against Cole.

Cole was permanently banned from Canada last year because of concerns about his links to a “terror” organization, according to the petition.

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the group as a terror organization that aims to use violence for “apocalyptic, racial cleansing.”  

The Atomwaffen Division is among the most extreme groups of a rising threat of right-wing violence in the U.S., something the Trump administration rarely addresses.

The far right accounted for 73% of extremist murders in the U.S. between 2009 and 2018, according to data from the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, compared with 23% by Islamic extremists. In a Capitol Hill hearing earlier this year, Kevin McAleenan, who was then acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security but has since left the position, described white supremacist violence as a “huge issue” and an “increasingly concerning threat.”

Related Coverage

Homicidal Neo-Nazi Terrorist Group Reappears On YouTube Amid FBI Probe

Hate Has Flourished In 2 Years Since 'Unite The Right' Rally In Charlottesville

Neo-Nazi Chat Logs Reveal Chilling Praise For Slaying Of Gay Jewish Student

Tech Companies Promised To Stop Helping Neo-Nazis Raise Money. They Haven’t.

Military Grapples With White Nationalists In Ranks

After HuffPost Investigation, 4 White Nationalists Out Of U.S. Military -- But Others Allowed To Remain

Exposed: Military Investigating 4 More Servicemen For Ties To White Nationalist Group

White Supremacy Is A Worldwide Crisis ― And The U.S. Can Learn From Abroad

Love HuffPost? Become a founding member of HuffPost Plus today.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.