Alleged Boise neo-Nazis charged with planning power grid attacks in Idaho, Northwest

US Virus Outbreak Iowa
Posted at 4:25 PM, Aug 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-20 18:25:07-04

This article was written by Jacob Scholl of the Idaho Statesman.

A group of men accused of being part of a neo-Nazi movement — including Idaho residents — are facing new federal charges over alleged plans to carry out attacks on energy grid infrastructure in Idaho and the Northwest.

On Friday, members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina filed a superseding indictment against four men: Paul Kryscuk, 35, Liam Collins, 21, Jordan Duncan, 26, and Joseph Maurino, 22. Kryscuk, Collins and Duncan are all former Boise residents already accused of illegally manufacturing and shipping firearms.

The group is accused of organizing on the Iron March forum — a now-defunct neo-Nazi message board — in hopes of creating a “modern-day SS” in the Northwest. The SS was the paramilitary group of the Nazi Party responsible for countless murders in Nazi Germany.

Kryscuk, Collins and Duncan were first arrested in Idaho on Oct. 20 last year, shortly after they were indicted by a North Carolina grand jury. Justin Hermanson, a North Carolina resident, was indicted on Nov. 18, 2020. Maurino, a New Jersey resident and member of the Army National Guard, was indicted in July.

Prosecutors now allege that Kryscuk, Collins, Duncan and Maurino plotted to use assault-style rifles to cause explosions at power substations in Idaho and nearby states. All four allegedly “researched, discussed and reviewed at length a previous attack on the power grid by an unknown group,” according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Authorities did not say where that attack occurred.

Some in the group had specific duties, according to the indictment. From 2017 to 2020, Kryscuk allegedly manufactured guns while Collins allegedly stole military gear and equipment, including magazines for assault-style rifles. Collins took the military gear and gave it to the others in their group, federal authorities said.

In previous filings, prosecutors said that Collins and Duncan were formerly enlisted members of the U.S. Marine Corps assigned to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Hermanson was still enlisted in the Marines at Camp Lejeune at the time of the alleged crimes.

From 2017 to 2020, Duncan was gathering a “library of information” — some public documents and some military-owned information — on guns, explosives and even nerve toxins, before sharing the information with Kryscuk and Collins, according to the newest indictment.

The group also allegedly plotted to destroy power transformers using homemade thermite, a material that burns at over 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Collins allegedly asked others to each buy 50 pounds of Tannerite — a type of binary explosive that can be purchased in the United States — in order to make the thermite.

Hermanson showed an unnamed individual an animated reenactment of the previous power grid attack carried out by the unknown group, according to the indictment. Hermanson reportedly told the person that if the group blew up a power substation, “it would take down the entire regional or coastal power grid and cause chaos for the country,” the indictment says.

Between Oct. 4 and Oct. 9 last year, Collins, Kryscuk and Duncan discussed plans to take out a power grid, according to federal prosecutors, who said that the damage the group was planning could exceed $100,000.

On Oct. 20, 2020 — the day most group members were arrested — authorities found a handwritten document in Kryscuk’s possession that contained a list of roughly a dozen intersections and places in Idaho and other Northwest states with transformers, substations or other power grid components, according to the indictment.

In the months prior, Kryscuk, Duncan, Maurino and an unnamed person met at Kryscuk’s Boise home to conduct live-fire weapons training somewhere outside of the city, according to previous federal court documents. The group also filmed neo-Nazi propaganda video during the weapons training, where they shot assault-style and short barrel rifles, and the video featured the four giving “Heil Hitler” salutes beneath the image of a black sun, a well-known Nazi symbol, federal officials said.

Members of the group were wearing skull masks, which are associated with the Atomwaffen Division, a neo-Nazi terrorist group in the United States. The video concluded with the display of the phrase, “come home white man.”

Prior indictments outlined how in July 2020, Kryscuk and Duncan discussed the need to watch the social media feeds of Black Lives Matter Boise. Days later, federal authorities reported that Kryscuk was watching a BLM rally at Boise State University. Kryscuk again was seen near a BLM rally on Aug. 18, 2020. In October, before their arrests, Kryscuk and Duncan discussed shooting protesters in Boise and the “end of democracy,” those indictments state.

Instagram messages between Kryscuk and Duncan, which were made public in January court filings, also showed that Kryscuk was trying to get jobs at Idaho prisons, and he was interviewed at least once before his October 2020 arrest. He also said in Instagram messages that he was preparing to take a written exam in the hopes of joining the Boise Fire Department.

As of Friday, Kryscuk and Hermanson have waived their initial appearances in federal court in connection with the new charges. Kryscuk, Collins and Duncan are being held in a North Carolina jail pending trial.

Hermanson was granted pretrial release in February. Maurino was released from custody earlier this week, with a judge setting the conditions of his pretrial release on Wednesday, according to court records.