GREENBELT — Federal grand juries in Maryland and Delaware have handed up indictments against an Elkton man who served as a Cavalry Scout in the U.S. Army and his two alleged accomplices in a case in which they are facing “firearms and alien-related” charges connected to their alleged involvement in a “racially motivated violent extremist group” that plotted acts of violence against minorities, including African Americans and Jewish Americans.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland announced the two-state federal indictments against Brian Mark Lemley Jr., 33, and the other two defendants — Patrik Jordan Matthews, a 27-year-old Canadian citizen who lives in Newark, Del., and William Garfield Bilbrough IV, 19, of Denton — on Tuesday.
The announcement was made within a day after the indictments were unsealed and approximately two weeks after FBI agents had arrested Lemley, Matthews and Bilbrough on a criminal complaint, upon which much of indictments are based.
Only Lemley and Matthews are named as defendants in the six-count federal indictment filed in Delaware, while the 12-count indictment filed in Maryland names all three men.
The federal indictments include numerous charges, including transporting firearm and ammunition in interstate commerce with intent to commit a felony, conspiracy to transport and harbor certain aliens, transporting machine gun in interstate commerce and alien in possession of firearm and ammunition.
“The federal indictments also seek the forfeiture of any property traceable to the offenses charged, including all firearms and ammunition allegedly involved in the commission of the offense, and a 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 allegedly used to facilitate the offense,” Marcia Murphy, a USAO spokeswoman, noted Tuesday.
Federal investigators allege that Matthews entered the United States illegally and, as recently as August, served as a combat engineer in the Canadian Army Reserve, she reported.
Lemley, Matthews and Bilbrough stand accused of having ties to a terrorist group known as The Base.
Within The Base’s “encrypted chat rooms” according to the federal charging documents, “members have discussed, among other things, recruitment, creating a white ethno-state, committing acts of violence against minority communities (including African-Americans and Jewish-Americans), the organization’s military-style training camps, and ways to make improvised explosive devices.”
An affidavit to support the criminal complaint filed against the trio earlier this month alleges that Mathews unlawfully crossed from Canada into the U.S., near the Manitoba-Minnesota border, on Aug. 19 and that Lemley and Bilbrough drove from Maryland to Michigan in order to pick up Mathews on Aug. 30.
All three men returned to Maryland on Aug. 31, according to federal charging papers.
On Nov. 3, according to the criminal complaint, the three men drove from Virginia to the Eastern Shore, where Bilbrough was residing.
Lemley and Mathews then traveled to Elkton, where Lemley obtained a motel room for Mathews, charging documents outline. The next day, Lemley drove Mathews to Delaware, where Lemley rented an apartment in which the two had resided since that time, according to the criminal complaint.
The document further alleges that, during December, Lemley and Mathews used an upper receiver ordered by Lemley, as well as other firearms parts, to make a functioning assault rifle.
Also during that same month, Lemley, Mathews and Bilbrough allegedly attempted to manufacture a “controlled dangerous substance,” DMT, at Lemley and Mathews’ apartment.
“Furthermore, Lemley, Mathews, and Bilbrough discussed The Base’s activities and spoke about other members of the organization. Mathews also allegedly showed the assault rifle to Bilbrough, who examined the assault rifle and returned it to Mathews,” according to federal charging documents.
Earlier this month, according to the affidavit and one of the indictments, Lemley and Mathews purchased approximately 1,650 rounds of 5.56mm and 6.5mm ammunition and traveled from Delaware to a gun range in Maryland, where they shot the assault rifle.
They also allegedly retrieved plate carriers, which support body armor, and at least some of the purchased ammunition from Lemley’s previous residence, according to the affidavit.
Lemley and Bilbrough are charged with transporting and harboring aliens and conspiring to do so, Murphy said.
Lemley also is charged with transporting a machine gun and disposing of a firearm and ammunition to “an alien unlawfully present in the United States,” she added.
Mathews is charged with transporting a firearm and ammunition with intent to commit a felony and with being an alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition, Murphy reported.
If convicted, Lemley would face up to 40 years in federal prison, while Bilbrough and Mathews would face 15 and 20 years respectively.
Broken down, Lemley and Bilbrough would face a maximum five-year sentence for transporting and harboring certain aliens and 10 years in federal prison for the mirroring conspiracy charge.
Lemley also would face a maximum five-year sentence for transporting a machine gun in interstate commerce and 10 years in federal prison for disposing of a firearm and ammunition to an illegal alien.
In addition, Lemley and Mathews would each face a maximum 10-year sentence for transporting a firearm and ammunition in interstate commerce with intent to commit a felony offense.
Also, Mathews would face a maximum 10 years in federal prison for being an alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties, Murphy noted.
The Maryland State Police is among the numerous agencies that assisted in the federal investigation, according to Murphy. The list of other agencies involved includes the FBI Baltimore Joint Terrorism Task Force and U.S Homeland Security Investigations, she noted.