A U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant arrested in Maryland last week on gun and drug charges was found to be a white supremacist who called for the creation of a "white homeland" in the Pacific Northwest.
Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson, the New York Times reports, was arrested by federal agents in his home on Friday for possession of opioids and a cache of firearms, which included 15 assault rifles and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition.
When investigators searched the 49-year-old's computer, they found a list of "traitors," including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Maxine Waters and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, that he wanted to kill. Hasson was allegedly targeting prominent politicians, journalists, professors, judges and other "leftists in general."
In the case that was filed against Hasson on Tuesday, prosecutors provided evidence that he wanted white nationalists to migrate to the Pacific Northwest region.
In a draft letter provided by prosecutors—which was allegedly sent seven weeks after the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia—Hasson wrote to an unnamed U.S. neo-Nazi leader: "I am writing you regards to your ideas behind North West migration."
He continues: "I have read most of your books and briefly looked at your website. I am a long time White Nationalist (sic), having been a skinhead 30 plus years ago before my time in the military."
Hasson speaks of the need for a "white homeland," and suggests that young white supremacists should "resettle and build a community before they throw their life away with some desperate measure like shooting up a mosque in an area that doesn't want [them.]"
"I never saw a reason for mass protest or wearing uniforms marching around
provoking people with swastikas," he writes. "I was and am a man of action
you cannot change minds protesting like that. However you can make change with a little focused violence."
The idea for a Pacific Northwest ethno-state that Hasson references has been popular among right-wing extremists for decades.
Beginning around the 1980s, Patch reports, neo-Nazi leaders Richard Butler, the Idaho-based founder of the Aryan Nations, and Robert Jay Mathews, the leader of The Order who was killed in a shootout with federal agents at his home on Whidbey Island in '84, advocated for the idea of a Northwest Territorial Imperative—which included all of Oregon.
The idea was widely disseminated by Harold A. Covington, a podcaster and novelist who started the Bremerton, Wash.-based neo-Nazi group Northwest Front.
The group, according to its website, defines itself as "a political organization of Aryan men and women who recognize that an independent and sovereign White nation in the Pacific Northwest is the only possibility for the survival of the White race on this continent."
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Covington, who died last July, "spent decades attempting to further racist causes, including working in the former African nation of Rhodesia to preserve white rule and advocating a plan to turn the Pacific Northwest into a white homeland."
Hasson is currently being held in prison in Maryland on gun and drug charges. But prosecutors write in their filing that those charges are only "proverbial tip of the iceberg."
Read the full case filing against Hasson here.