The Virginia state Capitol

Three men connected to a white supremacist organization are facing federal charges related to plans of transporting a gun and ammunition across state lines with plans to commit a crime.

The men were planning to travel to Richmond on Monday to attend a Second Amendment rally, according to law enforcement.

Thousands of gun-rights supporters are expected to come to Richmond on Monday for a rally organized by the Virginia Citizens Defense League. Gov. Ralph Northam has announced a temporary ban on weapons in Capitol Square.

Brian Lemley, Patrik Mathews and William Bilbrough were arrested early Thursday by the FBI in Maryland and Delaware, said Dave Fitz, a spokesman for the FBI’s Baltimore office.

A federal criminal complaint filed in Maryland on Wednesday alleges that the three men had purchased parts to create an assault rifle that can fire more than one round at a time, and practiced shooting it at a Maryland gun range.

On Jan. 7, one of the men purchased 1,500 rounds of 5.56 millimeter and 6.5 millimeter ammunition.

“Oh, oops, it looks like I accidentally made a machine gun,” Lemley told another man, according to an affidavit filed by FBI agent Rachid Harrison.

The men are members of a white supremacist organization called “The Base,” the complaint says. Members of the group regularly discuss the creation of a white ethno-state and plans to commit acts of violence against other racial and ethnic groups, along with recruitment and ways to manufacture explosive devices, the documents say.

One of the men, Mathews, is a Canadian citizen who crossed the border into the U.S. illegally near Minnesota last August, according to court documents. He is being charged with possessing a firearm and ammunition illegally.

Lemley and Bilbrough are being charged with harboring an undocumented immigrant.

In announcing the temporary weapons ban for Capitol Square, Northam cited safety threats “similar to what has been seen before other major events such as Charlottesville,” a reference to the deadly Unite the Right rally in August 2017.


(804) 649-6254

Twitter: @MelLeonor_


(804) 649-6340

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.