U.S. Attorney's Office And FBI Condemn Acts Of Violence And Discrimination Targeting Asian Americans
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – A Las Vegas resident who discussed setting fire to a synagogue with a white supremacist extremist group was sentenced today to two years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich of the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse of the FBI.
“Our office is committed to working closely with our law enforcement partners to disrupt and stop potential bias-motivated violence before it happens,” said U.S. Attorney Trutanich. “Here, law enforcement in Nevada identified the defendant’s threats of violence — which were motivated by hate and intended to intimidate our faith-based and LGBTQ communities — and took swift action to protect our communities and ensure justice.”
“The primary mission of the FBI is to protect the American public from a terrorist attack,” said Special Agent in Charge Rouse. “The FBI’s Las Vegas Joint Terrorism Task Force is committed to protecting our community and I could not be more proud of the proactive work they did in this case. This is a great example of the best result in law enforcement by stopping violence before it can start.”
Conor Climo, 24, of Las Vegas, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan. Climo previously pleaded guilty to one count of possession of an unregistered firearm — specifically, the component parts of a destructive device. In addition to the term of imprisonment, the Court ordered special conditions of supervised release, including mental health treatment and computer monitoring.
According to court documents, Climo communicated with individuals who identified with the white supremacist extremist group Feuerkrieg Division, which is an offshoot of the U.S.-based white supremacist extremist group Atomwaffen Division. Feuerkrieg Division members share a common goal of challenging laws, social order, and the government via terrorism and other violent acts. The organization encourages attacks on the federal government, critical infrastructure, minorities, and members of the LGBTQ community.
As part of his guilty plea, Climo admitted that, during online conversations with Feuerkrieg Division members between May 2019 and July 15, 2019, he discussed setting fire to a Las Vegas synagogue, and making Molotov cocktails and improvised explosive devices. Climo further admitted that he discussed plans to attack the Anti-Defamation League. In addition, Climo conducted surveillance on a bar in Las Vegas that he believed catered to the LGBTQ community in preparation for a potential attack.
On August 8, 2019, the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) executed a search warrant at Climo’s residence. During the search, law enforcement located components that could be readily assembled into a destructive device, strong oxidizing agents that can be used as fuels, and numerous hand drawn schematics to construct improvised explosive devices. Law enforcement also seized an AR-15 rifle and a bolt-action rifle from Climo’s bedroom.
The Department of Justice is committed to combating acts of violence motivated by hatred or bias, such as anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ acts, on multiple fronts and in a multi-faceted approach, using both criminal and civil statutes. Acts of violence motivated by hatred or bias violate the personal security of individuals, threaten the freedom of communities to pursue their faiths and ways of life, and disregard the common ties that bind our nation together.
This case was investigated by the JTTF, which includes law enforcement partners from local, state, and federal agencies. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Dickinson of the District of Nevada prosecuted the case, with assistance from the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and the National Security Division.
This prosecution is part of the Department of Justice’s Disruption and Early Engagement Programs (DEEP), a national strategy to disrupt potential mass shootings and other rapidly mobilizing threats and the need to implement timely, effective and efficient responses.