GREENBELT, Md. (WJZ) -- Three Maryland area men, allegedly linked to a racially-motivated extremist group known as "The Base," are facing federal firearms and alien-related charges.
Brian Mark Lemley, Jr. of Elkton, Maryland, and Newark, Delaware, and 19-year-old William Garfield Bilbrough IV of Denton, Maryland, were charged with transporting and harboring aliens and conspiring to do so.
Lemley, 33, was also charged with transporting a machine gun and disposing of a firearm and ammunition to an alien unlawfully present in the United States. He and 27-year-old Canadian national Patrik Jordan Mathews, currently of Newark, Delaware, were also charged with transporting a firearm and ammunition with intent to commit a felony.
Mathews was also charged with being an alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Federal agents tracked the three around the state and say Lamley and Matthews built a machine gun and bought 1,650 rounds of ammunition.
They say they tested that weapon at a Maryland gun range this month.
WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren was at the federal courthouse in Greenbelt where the men had court appearances Thursday afternoon.
According to the criminal complaint, The Base members have allegedly discussed violence against minority groups including African and Jewish Americans, creating a "white-ethnostate" and ways to make improvised explosives in encrypted chat rooms. They also allegedly discussed training camps and recruitment.
Lemly is a former Cavalry Scout in the U.S. Army and Matthews was a combat engineer in the Canadian Army Reserve.
Matthews unlawfully crossed from Canada into the U.S. near the Minnesota-Manitoba border on Aug. 19, 2019, according to documents. Authorities said Lemley and Bilbrough drove to pick up Matthews on Aug. 30, returning to Maryland the next day.
According to the affidavit, the trio made a functioning assault rifle in December. They also allegedly attempted to make a controlled substance, N, N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), at Lemley's apartment. DMT is a hallucinogenic drug.
The trio also allegedly spoke about The Base's activities and other members of the organization.
"In January 2020, according to the affidavit, that Lemley and Mathews purchased approximately 1,650 rounds of 5.56mm and 6.5mm ammunition; traveled from Delaware to a gun range in Maryland, where they shot the assault rifle; and retrieved plate carriers (to support body armor) and at least some of the purchased ammunition from Lemley's prior residence in Maryland," according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Maryland.
The charges were filed on Tuesday and were unsealed Thursday after the men were arrested by the FBI.
According to a federal official, the men were arrested near Baltimore and were believed to be heading toward Richmond.
On Wednesday, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency ahead of a planned demonstration Monday at the State Capitol.
Northam said they have credible intelligence from law enforcement agencies of threats of violence including"extremist rhetoric" similar to what was seen before in major incidents such as Charlottesville in 2017.
"This intelligence suggests militia groups and hate groups, some from out of state, plan to come to the Capitol to disrupt our democratic process with acts of violence," Gov. Northam said.
He said the state of emergency includes a ban on weapons of any kind in Capitol Square. It extends from Friday, January 17 at 5 p.m. until Tuesday, January 21 at 5 p.m.
Lemley and Matthews were ordered to be detained during a hearing Thursday afternoon in a federal court in Greenbelt.
They are expected to have hearings next Wednesday.
Lemley and Matthews' court-appointed lawyers declined to comment.
"If convicted, Lemley and Bilbrough each face a maximum sentence of five years for transporting and harboring certain aliens, and 10 years for conspiracy to do so. Lemley also faces a maximum of five years in prison for transporting a machine gun in interstate commerce, and a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for disposing of a firearm and ammunition to an illegal alien," the press release stated. "Lemley and Mathews each face a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for transporting a firearm and ammunition in interstate commerce with intent to commit a felony offense. Finally, Mathews faces a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for being an alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition."
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