Three Alleged Members of the Violent Extremist Group “The Base” Facing Federal Firearms and Alien-Related Charges
Greenbelt, Maryland – A federal criminal complaint has been filed charging three alleged members of the racially motivated violent extremist group “The Base” with firearms and alien-related charges. The complaint charges Brian Mark Lemley, Jr., age 33, of Elkton, Maryland, and Newark, Delaware, and William Garfield Bilbrough IV, age 19, of Denton, Maryland, with transporting and harboring aliens and conspiring to do so. Lemley is also charged with transporting a machine gun and disposing of a firearm and ammunition to an alien unlawfully present in the United States. Further, the complaint charges Lemley and Canadian national Patrik Jordan Mathews, age 27, currently of Newark, Delaware, with transporting a firearm and ammunition with intent to commit a felony. The complaint also charges Mathews with being an alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition. The complaint was filed January 14, 2020, and was unsealed today upon their arrests by the FBI.
The defendants are expected to have initial appearances beginning at 2:45 p.m. today in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, 6400 Cherrywood Lane, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles B. Day.
The criminal complaint was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; United States Attorney for the District of Delaware David C. Weiss; Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Rob Cekada of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division.
According to the criminal complaint, within The Base’s encrypted chat rooms, members have discussed, among other things, recruitment, creating a white ethno-state, committing acts of violence against minority communities (including African-Americans and Jewish-Americans), the organization’s military-style training camps, and ways to make improvised explosive devices. Lemley previously served as a Cavalry Scout in the United States Army, and as of August 2019, Mathews, a Canadian citizen in the United States illegally, was a combat engineer in the Canadian Army Reserve.
The affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint alleges that on August 19, 2019, Mathews unlawfully crossed from Canada into the United States near the Manitoba/Minnesota border. On August 30, 2019, Lemley and Bilbrough allegedly drove from Maryland to Michigan in order to pick up Mathews, and all three men returned to Maryland on August 31, 2019.
As detailed in the criminal complaint, on November 3, 2019, the three men drove from Virginia to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where Bilbrough resided. Lemley and Mathews then continued to the area of Elkton, Maryland, where Lemley obtained a motel room for Mathews. The following day, Lemley drove Mathews to Delaware, where Lemley rented an apartment in which the two have resided since that time.
According to the affidavit, during December 2019, Lemley and Mathews used an upper receiver ordered by Lemley, as well as other firearms parts, to make a functioning assault rifle. Also in December, Lemley, Mathews, and Bilbrough allegedly attempted to manufacture a controlled substance, DMT, at Lemley and Mathews’s apartment. Furthermore, Lemley, Mathews, and Bilbrough discussed The Base’s activities and spoke about other members of the organization. Mathews also allegedly showed the assault rifle to Bilbrough, who examined the assault rifle and returned it to Mathews.
In January 2020, according to the affidavit, that Lemley and Mathews purchased approximately 1,650 rounds of 5.56mm and 6.5mm ammunition; traveled from Delaware to a gun range in Maryland, where they shot the assault rifle; and retrieved plate carriers (to support body armor) and at least some of the purchased ammunition from Lemley’s prior residence in Maryland.
If convicted, Lemley and Bilbrough each face a maximum sentence of five years for transporting and harboring certain aliens, and 10 years for conspiracy to do so. Lemley also faces a maximum of five years in prison for transporting a machine gun in interstate commerce, and a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for disposing of a firearm and ammunition to an illegal alien. Lemley and Mathews each face a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for transporting a firearm and ammunition in interstate commerce with intent to commit a felony offense. Finally, Mathews faces a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for being an alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
A criminal complaint is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by criminal complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorneys Robert K. Hur and David C. Weiss commended the FBI Baltimore Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) and ATF for their work in the investigation, and thanked U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Maryland State Police, and the Delaware State Police for their assistance. Mr. Hur and Mr. Weiss thanked their offices’ national security prosecutors, who are handling the case.
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