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Bad Axe Man Appointed Leader Of White Supremacist Group Charged

Michigan (WNEM) -- Attorney General Dana Nessel charged two Michigan men, one accused of being the leader of a national white supremacist group and the other an associate of the group.

The suspects are linked to a December 2019 incident in Dexter, in which a family was terrorized at their home after the men allegedly used intimidation tactics on the premises and posted messages to other The Base members targeting the home, according to the Attorney General's Office.

The arrests came from an investigation by Michigan State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Justen Watkins, 25, of Bad Axe, and Alfred Gorman, 35, of Taylor are facing the following charges:

• Gang membership, a 20-year felony;

• Unlawful posting of a message, a two-year felony and/or a $5,000 fine; and

• Using computers to commit a crime, a four-year felony and/or $5,000 fine.

Watkins claims to have been the appointed leader of The Base, and reportedly ran a "hate camp" for members of the group, where he led tactical and firearms training for participants with the goal of being prepared for the violent overthrow of the government, the Attorney General's Office said.

Gorman, an associate of Watkins and The Base, assisted Watkins in the crimes.

The charges were filed on Thursday, Oct. 29 in the Washtenaw County District Court as the victims' homes and the scene of the incident were.

Arrest warrants were executed at 6 a.m. on Thursday at the defendants' homes in Bad Axe and Taylor by MSP and FBI.

Their arraignment is pending. They will both be lodged in the Washtenaw County Jail.

"Using tactics of intimidation to incite fear and violence constitutes criminal behavior," Nessel said. "We cannot allow dangerous activities to reach their goal of inflicting violence and harm on the public. I am proud to work alongside law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal levels to safeguard the public's safety from these serious threats."

On Dec. 11, 2019, at about 11:30 p.m., the victims reported seeing Watkins and Gorman dressed in dark clothing shining a light and taking pictures on the front porch of the family's home.

The photos were then uploaded to the Base's channel on Telegram, a social media platform, with the caption: "The Base sends greetings to Daniel Harper of the Antifa podcast 'I Don't Speak German'."

The Attorney General's Office said Watkins and Gorman intended to threaten and intimidate Harper, who they mistakenly believed to live at the victims' home.

However, Harper never lived at that address. The photos were taken without the victim family's consent.

The two suspects posting the message was intended to cause conduct that would make residents feel terrorized and emotionally distressed, the Attorney General's Office said.

The Base, founded it 2018, is described by the AG's Office as a White supremacy organization that openly advocates for violence and criminal acts against the U.S.

It also purports to be training for a race war to establish White ethnonationalism rule in areas of the U.S., including Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the Attorney General's Office said.

The group also traffics in Nazi ideology and extreme anti-Semitism, at one point requiring its members to read neo-Nazi books that urge the collapse of Western civilization.

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