Michigan gang leader sentenced, openly advocated for race war

Michigan gang leader sentenced, openly advocated for race war
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 4:20 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel discussed the sentencing of ‘The Base’ leader, Justen Watkins, in Tuscola County.

Founded in 2018, The Base – which is the literal translation of “Al-Qaeda” in English – is a white supremacy gang that openly advocates for violence and criminal acts against the U.S.

Michigan State Police and the FBI’s Detroit Terrorism Task Force executed an arrest warrant for Watkins in Taylor in October of 2020.

Background: AG Nessel submits testimony for U.S. House hearing on rise of militia extremists

Justen Watkins, 25, of Bad Axe was sentenced to 32 months to four years for Conspiring to Train for a Civil Disorder and a mandatory consecutive two years for Felony Firearm by Judge Amy Gierhart of the Tuscola County Circuit Court.

“The tragic event in Buffalo that resulted in 10 people being murdered and another three injured is an example of why we must prosecute and pursue these types of crimes to deter others from contemplating such acts of violence,” said Nessel. “Securing these convictions on the conspiracy to train for civil disorder creates a historic precedent in our state’s court system and conveys the real danger domestic terrorism poses here and around the country.”

One of the charges filed against Watkins – Conspiring to Train for a Civil Disorder – marked the first time a defendant has faced the felony in Michigan’s history.

The Base purports to be training for a race war to establish white ethno-nationalist rule in areas of the U.S. including Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.


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