WILMINGTON, N.C. (WGHP) — A trial date has been set for two of the five men accused in a neo-Nazi plot to attack electrical infrastructure.
Jordan Duncan and Liam Collins are set to go to a jury trial on March 4, 2024, nearly four years after the men were indicted on multiple counts of conspiracy and destruction of an energy facility. They were charged along with three co-conspirators who have already pleaded guilty to various charges and are awaiting sentencing.
According to court documents, the proposed trial date “reflects the parties’ mutual agreement” as well as taking into account the complexity of the case, the “presence of sensitive discovery materials” and the need for the defendants to be able to prepare an adequate defense, as well as the “need to impose greater certainty” due to the extended nature of the prosecution so far.
In October of 2020, Liam Collins, Paul Kryscuk and Jordan Duncan were charged with conspiracy to unlawfully manufacture, possess and distribute weapons and weapon accessories.
At the time of their arrest, the three men lived in Boise, Idaho, but the charges came from the Eastern District of North Carolina. Collins was originally from New Jersey, while Duncan was from North Carolina but had been living in Texas. Both Collins and Duncan were Marines who had been stationed at Camp Lejeune.
In November 2020, Justin Wade Hermanson, a North Carolina man who was in the same Marine unit as Collins at Camp Lejeune, was charged with one count of conspiracy to manufacture firearms and ship interstate. After two superseding indictments, he pleaded guilty on March 8, 2022.
In June of 2021, Joseph Maurino, a New Jersey National Guardsman, was also indicted, accused of supplying untraceable guns to the other men. Maurino pleaded guilty on April 11.
In August 2021, Kryscuk, Collins, Duncan and Maurino received a third superseding indictment. They were charged with conspiracy to damage property of a United States energy facility. Kryscuk pleaded guilty in February 2022.
The indictment alleges that the four men researched and discussed at length a previous attack on power infrastructure by an unknown group, using assault-style rifles. The indictment alleges that for three years, between 2017 and 2020, Kryscuk manufactured guns and Collins, stationed at Camp Lejeune at the time, stole military gear and had them delivered to the other men. Duncan gathered “a library of information,” some military owned, about weapons, toxins and explosives.
Collins and Kryscuk allegedly met on “Iron March,” a now-defunct forum for neo-Nazis to organize and recruit, according to the indictment. They moved to encrypted messaging to talk outside of the forum, recruiting the other men.
Video footage shows the men shooting guns, wearing “AtomWaffen-style masks” while giving Nazi salutes. The phrase “Come home white man” is seen in the video.
Supposedly, Collins and Duncan moved from North Carolina and Texas respectively to Boise to be closer to Kryscuk.
In April, Jonathan Frost was sentenced to 60 months in prison and Christopher Cook was sentenced to 92 months in prison, both for a count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. Both men will be under supervision for 30 years after release. A third conspirator, Jonathan Sawall, was ordered to be hospitalized.
The three men pleaded guilty to the plot to attack power substations in multiple states in February of 2022.
The indictment states that the men met online and began planning to attack electrical infrastructure around the country, with each man assigned specific ones. When they got together in Columbus, they graffitied a bridge at an area park with a swastika and the words “Join the Front.” Court documents indicate they were taken back into custody and had various electronics seized on Dec. 5, 2022.
In February, one of the founders of the now-defunct neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division, Brandon Russell, and his girlfriend have been charged with plotting an attack against the power grid in Baltimore, Maryland, with Russell being accused of sharing a YouTube video about the attack on Duke Energy substations in Moore County as part of the planning.
Substation attacks in North Carolina
The Dec. 3, 2022, shooting of two Duke Energy substations in Moore County is one of three separate incidents of substations being shot at in North Carolina over the span of a few short months with the first being on Nov. 11, 2022, in Jones County when 12,000 people lost power for a couple of hours after a Carteret-Craven Electrical Cooperative substation was shot. Then, on Jan. 17, 2023, an EnergyUnited substation was shot in Randolph County, but no one lost power. The FBI is offering thousands in rewards for information on these three shootings.
Two weeks after the Moore County shooting, at the beginning of Hannukah, a banner adorned with Nazi imagery advertising a Telegram channel for the “National Socialist Resistance Front” was unfurled on a highway overpass in Vass, and a second banner was found on Christmas in Cameron. The Telegram shown on the banner had numerous Nazi memes and graphics, including what appeared to be an image, posted just two days after the Jones County shooting, of a person’s silhouette in front of an electrical substation with the words “bring it all down,” a phrase that was also featured on the first banner.
The Moore County Sheriff’s Office said at the time that they were investigating these incidents separately.
No charges have been filed in any of the shootings.