A neo-Nazi group leader who stockpiled explosive material in a Tampa apartment where a friend killed two roommates has been sentenced to five years in federal prison, according to reports.
Brandon Russell, 22, a former National Guard soldier who identifies as a neo-Nazi, was sentenced on Tuesday in U.S. district court in Tampa after pleading guilty to illegally stockpiling explosive materials and possessing an unregistered destructive device in a Tampa Palms apartment, according to the Associated Press.
The sentence came short of the 11 years sought by prosecutors, but Judge Susan Bucklew expressed how difficult the case was, saying she was concerned that Russell knew how to make bombs but was also worried about him connecting with other neo-Nazis while in prison.
Federal prosecutors said they didn’t believe Russell had abandoned his “violent ideology” since his arrest, ABC Action News reported.
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In a court filing Sunday, prosecutors said he drew a diagram of how to make an explosive in a letter that was apparently intended to be delivered to another Atomwaffen member. The FBI also found copies of other letters in which Russell drew plans for an “Airborne Leaflet Dropping Device” that showed Nazi propaganda falling from the sky.
Devon Arthurs, Russell’s friend, awaits trial on charges of murdering their two roommates, Andrew Oneschuk and Jeremy Himmelman.
The killings took place in May 2017, and while Russell wasn’t charged for the slayings, the incident exposed Russell’s arsenal and the four roommates’ membership in Atomwaffen Division, an obscure neo-Nazi group that formed on the internet.
Russell was arrested in Key Largo last year after a traffic stop.