Christopher Hasson Sentenced to More Than 13 Years in Federal Prison on Federal Charges of Illegal Possession of Silencers, Possession of Firearms by an Addict to and Unlawful User of a Controlled Substance, and Possession of a Controlled Substance
Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge George J. Hazel today sentenced Christopher Paul Hasson, age 50, of Silver Spring, Maryland, to 160 months in federal prison, followed by four years of supervised release, on four federal charges, including unlawful possession of unregistered silencers, unlawful possession of firearm silencers unidentified by serial number, possession of firearms by an addict to and unlawful user of a controlled substance, and possession of a controlled substance. Hasson has been detained since his arrest on February 15, 2019.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Art Walker of the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service; and Acting Special Agent in Charge Toni Crosby of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division.
“Preserving our nation’s security against terrorist threats continues to be the Justice Department’s top priority. Lives were saved due to the skill and dedication of law enforcement in this case. Christopher Hasson intended to inflict violence on the basis of his racist and hateful beliefs. As long as violent extremists take steps to harm innocent people, we will continue to use all of the tools we have to prevent and deter them,” said United States Attorney Robert K. Hur.
“The FBI remains committed to combatting terrorism, both domestic and international, and we remain fully prepared to take those actions necessary to safeguard our communities,” said Special Agent in Charge Jennifer Boone. “We will use every tool given to us by the Department of Justice and Congress to disrupt Racially Motivated Violent Extremist activity. However, protection of our communities and our nation is a shared responsibility, and we must combat terrorism as a united force against all forms of violent hate.”
According to his plea agreement, Hasson was a Lieutenant in the United States Coast Guard. Prior to June 2016, Hasson owned a residence and lived in Currituck, North Carolina. In approximately June 2016, Hasson moved to a residence in Silver Spring, Maryland, and worked at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
As detailed in the government’s sentencing memo and presented to the Court during the sentencing hearing, Christopher Hasson self-identified as a “White Nationalist” for over 30 years and in writings advocated for “focused violence” in order to establish a white homeland. Review of Hasson’s e-mail accounts, saved documents, text messages, and Internet searches show that he was inspired by racist murderers, stockpiled assault weapons, studied violence, and intended to exact retribution on minorities and those he considered traitors.
Hasson admitted that from at least March 2016 through early February 2019, he used various e-mail accounts, including an overseas encrypted e-mail account, to order Tramadol, which is an opioid, from various illegal Internet-based distributors. Hasson usually paid for the Tramadol by wiring money to individuals in Mexico, at the direction of the Mexico-based distributor, who then had the Tramadol shipped to Hasson, typically in 100mg pills, at addresses Hasson provided, including his North Carolina and Maryland residences. Hasson admitted that he then concealed the Tramadol in other packaging at his residence and work and personally took the pills, usually daily, including while he was at work.
As detailed in his plea agreement, at the time of Hasson’s arrest on February 15, 2019, agents recovered 196 Tramadol pills from Hasson’s backpack. Search warrants executed the same day recovered 106 Tramadol pills from Hasson’s desk at Coast Guard Headquarters and 122 Tramadol pills from Hasson’s residence. From Hasson’s residence, law enforcement also recovered the following firearms: seven rifles; two shotguns; four pistols; two revolvers; an assembled firearm silencer; and a disassembled firearm silencer. In close proximity to the guns, agents found multiple magazines that could accept more than 15 rounds of ammunition, as well as hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Hasson ordered the components of the firearm silencers from a company in California and used a drill to complete and assemble one firearm silencer. Hasson knew the firearm silencers were not registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, and that they did not have serial numbers, as required by law.
As detailed in court documents, to prepare himself to take action, in addition to the firearms and silencers referenced above, Hasson purchased holsters, knives, magazines, ammunition, handguards, camping supplies, Meals-Ready-to-Eat, steel body armor plates, plate carriers, tactical vests and pouches, firearm repair kits, and smoke grenades. Hasson also e-mailed to his Coast Guard computer the manifestos of mass murderer Anders Breivik and Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, as well as the memoir of Eric Rudolph, the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bomber, titled “Between the Lines of Drift: The Memoirs of a Militant.” Hasson referred to those documents in his own writings. Hasson registered for an online sniper and sharpshooter forum, studied sniper tactics, and purchased high-end scopes and a sniper rifle. Internet searches performed by Hasson show that he targeted potential victims, including media personalities and current and former elected officials.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the FBI, the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, and the ATF for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked his office’s national security prosecutors, who handled the case.
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