A member of a white supremist extremist group called "The Base" who had been living in Newark illegally has pled guilty to firearms and obstruction charges, the United States Department of Justice announced Thursday.
According to officials, Canadian national Patrik Jordan Mathews, 29, illegally entered the United Stated to maintain his membership in the violent extremist group, constructing a rifle while here, and training at gun ranges in Maryland and at camps in Georgia.
White supremacists had been flocking to the racially motivated violent hate group since 2018, and, while in Canada, Mathew was identified as a member of the group on August 19, 2019, after a reporter with the Winnipeg Free Press infiltrated the group and published an article. He fled illegally to the United States after being identified.
Bilbrough and a co-defendant traveled from Maryland to Michigan to pick up Mathews and transport him to the East Coast, where he lived in concealment in Virginia and continued his participation as a member of The Base, taking part in training at various properties, according to the plea agreement.
Mathews and a co-conspirator moved into an apartment together in Delaware on November 4, 2019, where Mathews built a rifle out of various weapon parts based on an instructional video he watched on his cellphone. They took the rifle to a public gun range in Maryland in early January 2020.
On January 16, 2020 , federal warrants were executed at the Delaware residence, and Mathews attempted to break and discard his cellphone in the toilet.
Mathews pled guilty to the Maryland and Delaware charges of being an alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition, to the Maryland charge of transporting a firearm and ammunition in interstate commerce with the intent to commit a felony, and the Delaware charge of obstruction of justice. He faces a maximum of 50 years in prison at sentencing, which is currently scheduled for October 28, 2021.
Co-defendant William Garfield Bilbrough IV, 21, of Denton, Maryland, and also a member of The Base, previously pled guilty to conspiring to transport an alien and transporting the alien Patrik Mathews. He was sentenced to five years in federal prison.
Co-defendant Brian Mark Lemley Jr., 35, of Elkton, Maryland, and Newark, Delaware, was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday as well.