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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 28, 2020

Former Atomwaffen Division Member Sentenced to Prison

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A white supremacist and former member of the Atomwaffen Division was sentenced today to one year in prison for possessing firearms while being an unlawful drug user and making a false statement in order to illegally purchase a firearm.

According to court documents, in October 2017, Andrew Jon Thomasberg, 21, of McLean, purchased a semiautomatic rifle and claimed to be the true purchaser. In fact, Thomasberg knew this statement was false and that he was purchasing the gun for a third party. He transferred that firearm to that third party after purchasing it. Thomasberg also possessed at least four firearms while unlawfully using controlled substances, including marijuana, psilocybin mushrooms, and opium.

According to court documents and testimony, Thomasberg, who has a prior criminal conviction for a dangerous firearms offense, was associated with white supremacist organizations, such as Vanguard America, Atomwaffen Division, and Patriot Front. In text message communications, while Thomasberg possessed firearms and was a regular drug user, he glorified racially motivated violence and referred to mass shooters as “saints.” Additionally, Thomasberg informed law enforcement that only one day before he was arrested, he had submitted an application to join Patriot Front. Patriot Front is “a white supremacist group whose members maintain that their ancestors conquered America and bequeathed it to them alone.”

This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. Click here for more information about Project Guardian.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Larissa Knapp, Special Agent in Charge, Counterterrorism, FBI Washington Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony W. Mariano and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald L. Walutes, Jr. prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:19-cr-337.

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Project Guardian
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Public Affairs joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated February 28, 2020