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(58,764 posts)
Wed Apr 17, 2024, 10:49 AM Apr 2024

Virginia man ousted from militia charged with making deadly toxin

Virginia man ousted from militia charged with making deadly toxin

Federal charges related to manufacturing ricin deepens intrigue in a case that’s shining a light on the evolution of the anti-government movement

By Hannah Allam and Razzan Nakhlawi
April 16, 2024 at 4:59 p.m. EDT

Members of the Virginia Kekoas stage a Second Amendment demonstration in Gloucester, Va., in August 2023. Russell Vane IV, second from left, was later removed from the militia group over statements about explosives. (Hannah Allam/The Washington Post)

A court appearance Monday solved one part of the mystery surrounding a Virginia man whose alleged talk of explosives landed him in a federal investigation: Russell Vane IV is alive. ... Vane, 42, who uses the nickname “Duke,” had gone silent early this month after an anti-government militia he belonged to publicly disavowed him over concerns about his repeated references to bombmaking.

An obituary for Vane popped up online in early April, saying that he’d died in mid-March, but the notice disappeared after a couple days. A man who answered Vane’s phone last week told The Washington Post that “Duke killed himself.” ... But Vane appeared, very much alive, in federal custody Monday for a hearing on charges related to manufacturing the deadly poison ricin, indications of which FBI agents found during a search of his home on April 10, according to filings in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

The courtroom resurrection of a “dead” defendant and the specter of biological weapons are the latest installments in a strange story that shows how anti-government groups are evolving in an era of greater FBI scrutiny and landmark Justice Department prosecutions of far-right extremists. ... Earlier this month, members of the Virginia Kekoas “prepper” militia took the unusual step of going public with their fears that Vane, who formally joined last summer, might be either a government informant or a dangerous militant. They gave the independent journalist Ford Fischer chat logs and other documentation showing how Vane’s talk of homemade explosives, Russian operatives and presidential assassination alarmed the group, which eventually removed him on March 10.

Acting on tips generated by Fischer’s report, according to court papers, the FBI conducted a search and found supplies for manufacturing ricin in the laundry room of a Vienna, Va., home that Vane shares with his wife and their young children. Prosecutors say in court papers filed Monday that laboratory tests indicated the presence of ricin, which authorities described as “highly toxic, and can be fatal, if ingested, inhaled, or injected.”


By Hannah Allam
Hannah Allam covers extremism and domestic terrorism as part of the National Security team.

By Razzan Nakhlawi
Razzan Nakhlawi is a researcher on The Post's National Security desk. Twitter https://twitter.com/raz_nak

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(883 posts)
7. So your arm patch says "violent extremist"
Wed Apr 17, 2024, 11:34 AM
Apr 2024

but you’re worried about somebody in your organization having malicious intent? Did I get that right?


(8,496 posts)
9. Vienna VA. 30 minutes from the Capitol
Wed Apr 17, 2024, 11:54 AM
Apr 2024

Not a comforting story.if he did not have a wife and children, I would be rooting for Darwin here……


(10,622 posts)
11. When you go to that area the first thing they say to you is "yer not from 'round here are ya?".
Wed Apr 17, 2024, 12:12 PM
Apr 2024

Much of Va and WV is that way. Dollar General's motherlode.

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