A former Marine on Long Island has been accused of recruiting for a neo-Nazi group and planning an alleged attack on a synagogue, with the heinous plan involving illegal guns, tactical gear and raping women.
Matthew Belanger, the 25-year-old facing federal weapons violation in the disturbing allegations, is the leader of the hate group that at times trained in the woods on Long Island, federal officials said. Belanger once lived in the Suffolk County town of Selden.
Some of the disturbing details showed that Belanger’s group talked of attacking a synagogue and sexually assaulting women to "reduce the number of minority residents in the U.S.," according to court documents. Prosecutors said that the group had racist ideologies and a desire to inflict violence on Jewish people and other minority groups.
"What’s the problem with Jewish people, with minorities, that we’re gonna rape and kill and burn (them)? There’s some screw loose. There’s something wrong," said one woman who didn't want to share her identity, but said she knew Belanger before his family left Long Island.
Federal prosecutors said Belanger used Facebook accounts to conspire with others to commit hate crimes. He allegedly authored a hate group manifesto that read in part, "to be successful in this battle for survival, the white man must learn to hate," according to the federal criminal complaint.
The Anti-Defamation League reacted to his arrest with a tweet saying they were "horrified to read about the alleged racist, antisemitic & violently misogynistic plots by a #NY man and reported member of a neo-Nazi group."
The charges against Belanger detail how he allegedly worked with an unnamed New York police officer to illegally buy an assault rifle and pistol for himself through a now-closed gun shop in Port Jefferson Station.
The arrest was announced as Nassau County police investigate the delivery of antisemitic flyers in 3 communities.
Belanger appeared before a federal judge in Hawaii, where he served as a Marine. He pleaded not guilty to weapons charges, and was ordered held without bail. He faces 20 years in prison if convicted.
His lawyer did not immediately respond to request for comment.