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Atomwaffen’s neo-Nazis are linked to another Tampa crime. Who and what are they?

Atomwaffen Division was linked to a 2017 double-murder in Tampa. Since then, the internet-based white supremacy group has received intense scrutiny.
Brandon Russell, serving a five-year sentence on explosives charges, displayed a radiation warning tattoo during his jail booking in 2017. The symbol is found on the flag of the Atomwaffen Division, a neo-Nazi group Russell founded. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]

The group known as Atomwaffen Division is once again at the center of a high-profile criminal case in the Tampa Bay area.

The neo-Nazi paramilitary organization first gained widespread attention in 2017 when one of their former members was accused in a double murder in Tampa.

Now, nearly three years later, a local man is ensnared in a federal criminal case that alleges he conspired with other Atomwaffen members to deliver threatening posters to journalists and others.

Related: ‘I don’t know what happened to him.’ Alleged Spring Hill neo-Nazi held without bail.

Federal officials believe the group started in about 2015. But they did not achieve widespread recognition until two years later.

Brandon Russell, a former Florida National Guardsman, was a co-founder of the group, which professed an adherence to an ideology variously described as neo-Nazi and anti-government.

FBI agents who began investigating the group in 2017 were told there were about 30 members nationwide. Russell initially screened those who wanted to join.

They lurked in internet chats and discussed racist ideas. Members included Devon Arthurs, who became one of Russell’s roommates.

Related: Experts: One-time neo-Nazi charged in double murder has autism, schizophrenia

In May 2017, according to state prosecutors, Arthurs shot and killed their other two roommates, Jeremy Himmelman and Andrew Oneschuk. He then walked to a nearby smoke shop and held several people at gunpoint before surrendering to police. Once in custody, he directed police to the townhouse, where they found the bodies.

Russell, who was not involved in the murders, was questioned after investigators found explosive materials in the garage. Those items netted Russell federal charges to which he eventually pleaded guilty.

Related: Neo-Nazi Florida National Guard soldier gets five years in prison on bombmaking charges

He is now in federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind. His release date is set for August 2021.

People associated with Atomwaffen have been linked to at least five murders throughout the U.S., including the two in Tampa, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Atomwaffen means “nuclear weapons” in German.

Related: White nationalist spread hate, harassment from parents’ Brandon home

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