MS-13 Gang Leader Sentenced to Life in Prison for Racketeering Charges Including the Murder of 16-Year-Old Victim in Alley Pond Park in Queens
Earlier today in federal court in Brooklyn, Nicholas Welker, also known as “King ov Wrath,” pleaded guilty to conspiring to make interstate threats. Welker, the leader of Feuerkrieg Division (FKD), an international racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist group (RMVE), posted death threats against a Brooklyn-based journalist (the “Journalist”) to cause him/her to stop reporting on the extremist group. The proceeding was held before United States District Judge Pamela K. Chen. When sentenced, Welker faces up to five years in prison.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and James Smith, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the guilty plea.
“Welker and his hate group threatened a journalist to prevent reporting on the white supremacist group that Welker led. Today’s guilty plea represents a victory for freedom of the press,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “This prosecution demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that those who espouse hateful, extremist ideologies, like Welker, cannot silence First Amendment-protected activity through threats of violence and will be met with the full force of the law.”
Mr. Peace praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, which consists of investigators and analysts from the FBI, the NYPD, and over 50 other federal, state, and local agencies. Mr. Peace also thanked the Estonian Internal Security Service and Prosecutor’s Office for their valuable support.
According to court filings and facts presented at the plea hearing, Welker’s threat included a photograph of the Journalist with a gun aimed at his/her head and the words “Race Traitor” over the journalist’s eyes. The threat stated, “JOURNALIST F[***] OFF! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.” Welker posted the threat to a public online forum. Two under-aged FKD members tweeted the threat directly at the Journalist’s twitter handle so that he/she would see the death threat. Welker intended to frighten the Journalist into dropping his/her reporting on Welker’s hate group.
FKD members share a common goal of challenging laws, social order, and the government via terrorism and other violent acts. The organization encourages attacks on racial minorities, the Jewish community, the LGBTQ+ community, the U.S. Government, journalists, and critical infrastructure. FKD has members in the United States and abroad.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s National Security and Cybercrime Section. Assistant United States
NICHOLAS WELKER (also known as “King ov Wrath”)
San Jose, California
E.D.N.Y. Docket No.
Danielle Blustein Hass
United States Attorney’s Office