Three alleged members of white supremacist group arrested before Virginia’s pro-gun rally

Three alleged members of white supremacist group arrested before pro-gun rally

The Justice Department has announced the arrest of three men who are alleged members of the white supremacist group called The Base, CNN reported.

The men, who were taken into custody by the FBI, were planning to attend a pro-gun rally scheduled for Richmond, Virginia, next week, law enforcement officials said.

Brian Mark Lemley Jr. is accused of transporting a machine gun, transporting a firearm and ammunition with intent to commit a felony, as well as transporting and harboring an alien.

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William Garfield Bilbrough IV is charged with transporting and harboring an alien.

The man Bilbrough and Lemley are accused of transporting is Canadian citizen Patrik Jordan Mathews.

FILE - This undated photo provided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police shows Patrik Mathews. FBI agents on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, arrested the former Canadian Armed Forces reservist and two other men who are linked to a violent white supremacist group and were believed to be heading to a pro-gun rally next week in Virginia's capital. The three men are members of The Base and were arrested on federal charges in a criminal complaint unsealed in Maryland, according to a Justice Department news release.
FILE - This undated photo provided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police shows Patrik Mathews. FBI agents on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, arrested the former Canadian Armed Forces reservist and two other men who are linked to a violent white supremacist group and were believed to be heading to a pro-gun rally next week in Virginia's capital. The three men are members of The Base and were arrested on federal charges in a criminal complaint unsealed in Maryland, according to a Justice Department news release. (Royal Canadian Mounted Police /AP)

Mathews also is charged with transporting a firearm and ammunition with intent to commit a felony as well as being an alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition, CNN reported.

Mathews is allegedly a recruiter for The Base, NBC News reported.

Law enforcement officials said Lemley, Bilbrough and Mathews planned to attend the gun rights rally scheduled for Monday in Virginia’s capitol, NBC News reported.

Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency Wednesday in advance of the rally due to “credible intelligence” that armed militias and hate groups were expected to attend, according to NBC News.

Northam also banned firearms from the Capitol grounds due to concerns over weaponized drones and armed militias, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The three men had been under FBI surveillance for months, agency officials said, NBC News reported.

The Virginia state Capitol building is surrounded by fencing, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020 in Richmond, Va., in preparation for Monday's rally by gun rights advocates. Gun-rights groups are asking a judge to block the Virginia governor's ban on firearms at a massive pro-gun rally scheduled for next week. Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday, Jan. 15, announced a state of emergency and banned all weapons from the rally at the Capitol.
The Virginia state Capitol building is surrounded by fencing, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020 in Richmond, Va., in preparation for Monday's rally by gun rights advocates. Gun-rights groups are asking a judge to block the Virginia governor's ban on firearms at a massive pro-gun rally scheduled for next week. Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday, Jan. 15, announced a state of emergency and banned all weapons from the rally at the Capitol. (DEAN HOFFMEYER/ TIMES-DISPATCH/AP)