Former leader of white supremacist group pleads guilty to swatting conspiracy


ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WAVY) — A former leader of the white supremacist group Atomwaffen Division pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges related to his role in a conspiracy that conducted multiple swatting events targeting journalists, a Virginia university, a historic Virginia church, and a former cabinet official.

According to court documents, 26-year-old John Cameron Denton, of Texas, conspired with several people, including former ODU student John William Kirby Kelley, to conduct swatting calls.

Swatting is a tactic that involves deceiving dispatchers and telling them that a person or people are in danger of death of bodily harm, resulting in first responders — sometimes SWAT teams — responding to the person or people’s homes.

Court documents revealed that Denton participated in a conspiracy that conducted three swatting calls that occurred here in the Eastern District of Virginia: a former Cabinet official living in Northern Virginia on Jan. 27, 2019; Old Dominion University on Nov. 29 and Dec. 4, 2018; and Alfred Street Baptist Church on Nov. 3, 2018.

Additionally, Denton chose at least two targets to “swat”: the New York City office of ProPublica, a non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism; and an investigative journalist that produced materials for ProPublica.

Denton chose the two targets because he was furious with ProPublica and the investigative journalist for publishing his true identity and discussing his role in Atomwaffen Division

The FBI takes swatting seriously because it can have harmful consequences and puts innocent people and first responders at risk,” said James A. Dawson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office Criminal Division.

During the investigation, Denton unknowingly met with an undercover law enforcement officer and told the undercover officer about his role in the swatting conspiracy.

Denton stated that he used a voice changer when he made swatting calls, and admitted that he swatted the offices of ProPublica and the investigative journalist

Denton pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, interstate threats to injure. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison when sentenced on November 17

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