A former Marine kicked out of the Marine Corps for being a neo Nazi pleaded guilty this week to a weapons charge, part of a wider indictment accusing him of being part of a Neo Nazi plot to attack the American power grid.
Liam Collins pleaded guilty on Oct. 24 to transporting an unregistered firearm across state lines. Collins was kicked out of the Marine Corps in September 2020 after being identified as a regular contributor to a neo-Nazi message board. At the time he was serving at Camp Lejeune. He was indicted in October that year on charges of manufacturing and selling guns, ammunition and attachments such as silencers.
Fox 8 GHP first reported on the guilty plea. Court documents on the plea agreement are sealed as of press time.
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The others charged in the plot include two other former Marines as well as an Army National Guardsman. Those indicted planned to “attack the power grid both for the purpose of creating general chaos and to provide cover and ease of escape in those areas in which they planned to undertake assassinations and other desired operations to further their goal of creating a white ethno-state,” the indictment alleged.
The October 2020 indictment initially focused on weapons charges, but the case grew as the plot to attack power grid substations in Idaho and nearby sites was discovered. Collins was charged with, among other counts, allegedly taking body armor and weapons from Camp Lejeune. The group allegedly discussed using thermite on the power grid substations.
Collins pled not guilty to three other weapons charges, as well as one count of destruction to an energy facility. Two other veterans indicted in the case took plea deals, in 2022 and 2023 respectively, but have not been sentenced.
Collins joined the Marine Corps in 2017. According to the indictment, he did so in order to gain both training and equipment to help his neo-Nazi cause. He frequented the neo-Nazi message board using the names “Disciple” and “Niezgoda.” In his online posts, Collins called his neo-Nazi group a modern SS. His participation was discovered in 2019.
Attacks on the American power grid have become increasingly common, with several planned or successful ones over the last three years. They’ve also become a popular tactic among Neo Nazi groups, who see the impact such disruptions can cause. Data from the Department of Energy show the number of attacks and threats on the rise year over year, with a large increase in 2022. 60 attacks in the United States and Canada in 2022 led to power outages.
Collins is one of several current or former service members to be charged or convicted for ties to far-right terrorism in recent years. Past cases include an Air Force security member tied to the Boogaloo movement who attacked federal agents and local law enforcement, and a thwarted plot by a soldier who wanted to ambush fellow Army members while deployed overseas.
Extremists, particularly far-right ones, try to recruit veterans, or enlist in the military to gain skills for violent plots. The Department of Defense has tried to crack down on extremism in the military in recent years with mixed results. In May, the department admitted that only one of six recommendations a working group on countering extremism had offered had been adopted.
Collins is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 23, 2024.
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