Airman with Boogaloo ties admits to having explicit images of children

Investigators first focused on the airman for extremism ties but he possessed and distributed explicit images of children.
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An investigation into Air Force Sgt. Jason Gray and his ties to extremist organizations like the far-right Boogaloo movement led to a 5-year prison sentence for the Airman last month for possession and distribution of child pornography. (Photo by Bryan Dozier/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

An investigation into an Air Force NCO’s ties to extremist organizations like the far-right “Boogaloo” group led to the discovery of child pornography on his devices and a five-year prison sentence for the Airman last month.

Jason Travis Gray, a former staff sergeant and Air Force intelligence analyst, was sentenced in February in federal court under after pleading guilty in 2023 to possession and distribution of child pornography. Gray now faces 60 months in prison, 25 years probation and $28,000 in restitution, federal court documents show.

Gray was also investigated for leaking classified documents to Boogaloos on a Discord server, but Air Force officials say they now believe Gray did not share any official secrets.  

Gray joined the Air Force in 2015 and was most recently assigned to the 301st Intelligence Squadron with National Security Agency Alaska at Joint Base Elmebdorf-Richardson as a Fusion Analyst Supervisor.

The joint Air Force and FBI investigation of Gray began as a look into his ties to extremist organizations, a spokesperson for the Air Force told Task & Purpose. As Federal investigators examined a Discord server that Gray used with fellow members of the Boogaloo movement, they found he had posted an image that they believed was a classified document. Investigators suspected the document came from Gray’s NSA job in Alaska, according to a federal affidavit first reported by the Daily Beast

When confronted, Gray allegedly consented to a search of his Discord account, Lazyairmen#7460, where investigators said they found an image sent to a private channel with seven other people, “not all of whom have been fully identified,” according to court documents. Officials did not give details on what the image contained.

“Based on Gray utilizing Discord to communicate with other Boogaloo members, there is potential the image shared was in furtherance of the Boogaloo ideology,” according to the affidavit. 

Boogaloos are a U.S.-based anti-government and anti-authority movement whose members share plans to incite a second civil war or revolution which they refer to as the “Boogaloo,” according to the affidavit. Some of their members are also known for espousing white supremacist beliefs, though others associated with the group have sided with racial justice protest groups.

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While searching Gray’s devices during the classified document investigation in November 2022, federal agents also discovered images of girls from 1 to 9 years old “in natural poses in various stages of undress who then transition to fully nude in more sexually suggestive poses,” according to a separate federal affidavit.

In the end, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations concluded Gray had not leaked any secrets.

“There was no unauthorized disclosure of classified information,” the Air Force spokesperson said. 

Gray’s attorney Jane Imholte declined to comment.

Alaska search warrant

Authorities executed a search warrant in Gray’s Anchorage, Alaska home on Jan. 10, 2023, where federal agents found a firearm, two threaded pistol barrels, pistol/rifle ammunition and several magazines. Gray was arrested that day near his duty station at JBER.

During interviews with investigators, Gray allegedly admitted to creating a Facebook group for other Boogaloos, titled “CNN Journalist Support Group,” which he created, “due in part to his dissatisfaction with the government,” according to the affidavit. He was also allegedly upset with his Permanent Change of Station orders to JBER in Alaska. He arrived there Feb. 1, 2021.

Gray allegedly participated in several Discord channels supporting the white supremacist movement, dark humor, memes and discontent with the U.S. government, according to the affidavit.

Gray is not the first U.S. troop to be attracted to far-right movements like the Boogaloos, who commonly refer to themselves as the “boogaloo bois” and identify themselves by wearing Hawaiian shirts and carrying military-style tactical gear. 

Devin Burghart, executive director at the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, told Task & Purpose in 2020 that there are likely “several thousand” individuals who engage with Boogaloo-themed Facebook pages online.  
At the height of 2020 racial justice protests across the U.S. in response to the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, the FBI arrested an Army reservist, a Navy veteran, and an Air Force veteran for alleged plans to detonating explosives and booby traps across downtown Las Vegas during protests.

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