Ethan Melzer, a 22-year-old US Army private, has been indicted for allegedly plotting a “mass casualty” attack on his Army unit.
In its announcement of the indictment, the Department of Justice said that Melzer was sending sensitive military information to members of a neo-Nazi group to help facilitate the attack.
Melzer has been charged with conspiring and attempting to murder U.S. nationals, conspiring and attempting to murder military service members, providing and attempting to provide material support to terrorists, and conspiring to murder and maim in a foreign country.
The DOJ said that the FBI thwarted the attack in May 2020 before arresting Melzer on June 10.
The DOJ said that Melzer was a member of O9A, a group that officials say has participated in acts of violence.
Melzer was informed of his unit’s deployment in April 2020. The DOJ said that Melzer then used an encrypted message application to send messages to O9A. The group allegedly planned a “jihadi attack” during the unit’s deployment.
“As alleged, Ethan Melzer, a private in the U.S. Army, was the enemy within,” Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said. “Melzer allegedly attempted to orchestrate a murderous ambush on his own unit by unlawfully revealing its location, strength, and armaments to a neo-Nazi, anarchist, white supremacist group. Melzer allegedly provided this potentially deadly information intending that it be conveyed to jihadist terrorists. As alleged, Melzer was motivated by racism and hatred as he attempted to carry out this ultimate act of betrayal.”
Melzer could face life in prison if convicted on the counts.