The FBI has arrested two Virginia-based white supremacists involved in an alleged plot to bomb black churches and provoke a “race war.”
Robert Doyle and Ronald Chaney “ascribe to a white supremacy version of the Asatru faith,” according to court documents. The FBI says Doyle held a meeting on September 27 at his Chesterfield home to discuss “shooting or bombing the occupants of black churches and Jewish synagogues.” The FBI says several vehicles were present at the home on that day, including one registered to Chaney.
The men were caught after an undercover agent posing as an illegal arms dealer made contact with the men. They ordered “an automatic weapon, explosives, and a pistol with a silencer,” according to the agency.
Chaney met with the undercover agent on November 8 to finalize the purchase and was arrested. His accomplice, Doyle, was arrested later that same day.
The FBI has recordings of meetings where Doyle outlined his plan to rob an armored car, attack a gun store owner with an eventual plan to “purchase land, stockpile weapons, and train for the coming race war.”
The thwarted attack comes six months after the Charleston church shooting, in which nine black parishioners were targeted by a racist terrorist and killed. The shootings prompted a backlash against the pro-slavery Confederate flag, which was finally removed from the South Carolina state capital and various other facilities around the country.
Federal authorities have been issuing warnings over the last few years about the threat of domestic right-wing terrorism. A report from the Department of Homeland Security counted at least 24 domestic attacks from so-called “sovereign citizen” groups on the right between 2010 and 2015.
Some assesments have found that the threat from these domestic terrorists is greater than groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS, who receive the bulk of media attention about terrorism.
A survey last year of state and local law enforcement officers listed sovereign citizen terrorists, ahead of foreign Islamists, and domestic militia groups as the top domestic terror threat.
The survey was part of a study produced by the University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.
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