Patrik Mathews, is a former member of the Canadian military who is accused of being a white supremacist with ties to one of the most dangerous hate groups in North America, known as The Base.
Mathews, a 26-year-old former reservist in the Canadian Army, was arrested with two other members of The Base on January 16, 2020, in Maryland, The New York Times reports. FBI Director Christopher Wray told The Times the men had weapons and had discussed traveling to Virginia for a pro-gun rally in Richmond. Mathews and the other men are facing several federal charges stemming from a long-running investigation, the newspaper reports.
Mathews has been charged with being an alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition, aiding and abetting and transporting firearms and ammunition in interstate commerce with intent to commit therewith an offense punishable by a term exceeding one year, according to court documents filed in Maryland federal court. The full criminal complaint can be read here. Brian Mark Lemley Jr. and William Garfield Bilbrough IV have also been charged. Lemley is a former cavalry scout in the U.S., the FBI says.
Lemley and Bilbrough are accused of picking Mathews up and harboring him after he crossed the border illegally. The FBI observed Lemley and Mathews firing guns at a range in Maryland, according to the criminal complaint. The FBI also said it learned Lemley ordered more than 1,500 rounds of ammunition and plate carriers, to support body armor, on January 7 and January 11. In December, they bought parts to assemble an assault rifle, the FBI says. According to the affidavit, Lemley was heard by an FBI agent saying to Mathews at a gun range, “oh oops, it looks like I accidentally made a machine gun,” after the rifle fired more than one bullet at a time.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency ahead of the January 20 rally in Richmond over fears of violence. Northam said threats have been made by militia and hate groups. His state of emergency includes a temporary ban of weapons on the state capitol grounds. Protesters are set to rally against gun laws proposed by the Virginia legislature.
Mathews, who was removed from the Canadian military, was being sought by authorities in the U.S. because it was believed that he illegally entered the United States through Minnesota. The Roseau and Kittson County Sheriff’s Offices in Minnesota had warned the public that Mathews, who served in the military and has explosives training, should not be approached if spotted.
Mathews is accused of being a white nationalist recruiter around Winnipeg until his alleged activities were recently exposed. He is accused of having frequently visited the United States and may have participated in neo-Nazi paramilitary training programs called “hate camps.” Last spring, he was denied entrance into the United States when border agents spotted racist materials in his truck. The border incident a covert investigation by the Canadian government.
The 26-year-old Mathews went missing from his home in Beausejour, near Winnipeg, on August 24. He is described as standing 5’10” and weighing 180 pounds. He has blonde hair and blue eyes. Canadian law enforcement had said he has not been charged with any crime there and were describing the search for Mathews as a missing persons case. Facebook posts stating that Mathews is wanted for homicide are false, authorities said.
Mathews’ 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT was located by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on September 2. The abandoned truck had been left on a remote property four miles north of the U.S.-Canada border in Piney, Manitoba, near Minnesota’s Lost River State Forest.
Here’s what you need to know about Patrik Mathews:
1. Patrik Mathews & ‘The Base’ Believe They Are Training to Prepare for a ‘Race War,’ According to Reports
Patrik Mathews is accused of being a member of an online website and chatroom group comprised of alt-right extremists known as The Base. Members use the site to meet other vetted white supremacists and are encouraged to participate in off-line meet-ups for planning terrorist activities.
Individuals can share skills they believe will be useful during a race war. Vice reported that the site offers materials and videos on survivalist training, lone-wolf attacks, guerilla warfare, chemical weapons, gunsmithing, and neo-Nazi propaganda.
The Base was started by an unidentified man who goes by the aliases Norman Spear and Roman Wolf. Spear/Wolf claims to be a former Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran who created The Base to unify neo-Nazis. In an interview posted on YouTube, Spear said that National Socialism is “a system of government and society as a whole…that is inherently beneficial to whites,” and called it “timeless.”
Spear said that whites invented National Socialism. “I’m not really sure any other race could pull it off,” he explained. Spear referred to Nazi Germany as “The good old days,” and added that it was a period of “almost utopian prosperity for Germany.”
According to the Counter Extremism Project, The Base, is an “accelerationist group that encourages the onset on anarchy.”
2. Patrik Mathews Served 8 Years in the Canadian Army Reserve
Mathews joined the Canadian Army Reserve eight years ago, just after high school. Until recently, he was a combat engineer in the 38 Canadian Brigade Group and held the rank of master corporal. Mathews has worked with explosives, however, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) described the former reservist as having only a “rudimentary” understanding of explosives. The military also noted that Mathews had not been issued weapons.
According to Vice, CAF had previously flagged Mathews for “utterances.” He’d been counseled by superiors, but things began to escalate. A CAF spokesperson declined to go into details regarding what Mathews said or how his behavior escalated.
Mathews asked to be released from duty last April but wasn’t formally separated until just before he went missing. He is currently being investigated by the RCMP and the military for his alleged ties to The Base, the CBC reported.
3. Patrik Mathews Was Accused of Being a White Supremacist by an Undercover Reporter From the Winnipeg Free Press
Mathews spent the summer actively recruiting in Winnipeg, it’s alleged. He allegedly went around the city putting up fliers with the slogan, “Save your Race, Join The Base.” But Mathews’ purported activities were revealed when Winnipeg Free Press reporter Ryan Thorpe went undercover and outed him in his August exposé, “Homegrown Hate.”
Thorpe’s story featured a Winnipeg man named “Patrick,” who said he was hoping to create a white terror cell in Manitoba. He unwittingly gave away clues to his identity including where he was raised, where his father owned property and when he had joined the reserves.
“Patrick” shared that he was in the military and that his experience made him a highly desirable member of The Base. He said he was planning on leaving the reserves because he felt he could no longer” serve the ZOG.” “ZOG” is an acronym popular with hate groups that stands for “Zionist Occupied Government.” He told the undercover reporter that he had tried to recruit other individuals in the military and had two promising recruits.
Mathews disappeared shortly after Thorpe’s article was published. “The RCMP believe Mr. Mathews may be under a significant amount of pressure due to this ongoing investigation and the extensive media coverage it has garnered.”
4. Patrik Mathews’ Home Was Raided by Authorities after the Paper’s Exposé
On the night of August 19, Mathews’ home was raided by the Manitoba RCMP. Video filmed by a neighbor shows officers outside Mathews’ house shouting that they had a search warrant and that he needed to come out the back door with his hands up in the air. During their search, Mounties confirmed they’d discovered multiple firearms.
Neighbor Sarah Lockhart told the CBC Mathews surrendered without incident. “It took them about five minutes to get him out.” Mathews was handcuffed and taken into custody, but not charged. The RCMP refused to speak with Thorpe about the search or their investigation.
5. Anti-Hate Activist Bernie Farber Said He Was “Amazed” Authorities Had Let Patrik Mathews Disappear
Bernie Farber, chair of the nonprofit organization Canadian Anti-Hate Network, described The Base as “probably the most violent of the groups out there,” to the Global News. Farber said he was shocked at how easy it was for Mathews to vanish.
“I’m actually quite amazed and relatively astounded by the fact that while the RCMP tells us they’ve been watching him and keeping an eye on him that somehow he’s been able to disappear. It makes no sense to me,” he told the Winnipeg Free Press.
Farber described the Canadian military as having a “lackadaisical attitude” when dealing with white supremacists in uniform. He said the Canadian military has identified approximately 50 violent white supremacists serving in their ranks, but they believe that’s a low number. “Really, all we need is one person,” he cautioned.
Farber expressed concern that the military hasn’t shared how they are dealing with personnel who’ve aligned themselves with hate groups “We have no clue at all what they are doing with them. Does that mean, for example, that they’ve identified them and put them on leave, on administrative leave…have they taken them out of the military?…we don’t know anything.”
Farber believes the government would have taken immediate action if the same individuals were Muslim extremists. “Can you imagine for a moment, if 50 members of ISIS were identified as getting military training, and members of the Canadian military? We would have a national nervous breakdown,” he said.