(New York, N.Y.) – Last week, former Canadian Armed Forces reservist Patrick Jordan Mathews and U.S. Army veteran Brian Mark Lemley Jr., members of the neo-Nazi group The Base, were each sentenced to nine years in federal prison. Last January, the FBI arrested the two after surveillance captured them talking about attacking a pro-gun rally in Richmond, Virginia. Prosecutors asserted that Mathews and Lemley discussed breaking racist mass murderer Dylann Roof out of prison where he is on death row, assassinating a Virginia lawmaker, destroying rail lines and power lines, derailing trains, and poisoning water supplies. Federal agents arrested Mathews and Lemley on January 16, 2020, in Delaware.
Following their arrests, Lemley admitted to ordering 1,500 rounds of ammunition in January 2020 for rifles in his and Mathews’ possession. Lemley and Mathews both pleaded guilty in June 2021 to firearms and alien-related charges. Notably, the U.S. district judge presiding over the case concluded that the conversations recorded by the FBI showed intent to carry out terrorist activities and thus applied a “terrorism enhancement” to their final sentence, lengthening their prison terms.
The Base denies it is an extremist group, instead referring to itself as a “survivalism & self-defense network” training for a “hypothetical” societal collapse. To that end, The Base specifically—though not exclusively—seeks out recruits with military training. Mathews’ and Lemley’s arrests were part of a series of high-profile arrests of Base members last year. In January 2020, federal authorities arrested three men suspected of membership in The Base who were allegedly plotting to murder a couple, supposedly affiliated with the far-left antifa movement, in Bartow County, Georgia. In October 2020, authorities in Michigan arrested two Base members, including the group’s alleged leader, accused of attempting to intimidate a podcast host in December 2019.
Since then, some U.S. media have claimed U.S. authorities dismantled The Base. However, the group continues to organize activities around the United States and began a new online recruitment drive in late 2020. In April 2021, the network announced new training courses for recruits. In September, The Base announced a new survival course taking place in Indiana in early November.
To read The Counter Extremism Project (CEP)’s The Base resource, please click here.