Ex-Missouri guardsman trained skinhead group

Name turns up in Florida case.

Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri/August 12, 2012

St. Louis -- A former Missouri National Guardsman provided combat training to a white supremacist group whose members were preparing for an expected race war, a recently released court document shows.

The court document detailing Spc. Ryan Riley's role in the American Front was made public in a Florida state court proceeding regarding charges filed in May against group members. Riley, whose enlistment ended in May, hasn't been charged. But other members of the group are charged with hate crimes and conspiracy, as well as paramilitary training in furtherance of a civil disorder.

The court document shows that in July 2011, Riley, 28, went to Florida and trained American Front members on the AK-47 assault rifle and fighting techniques, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Afterward, the group gave him a patch, a sign of membership, according to the document.

Guard spokeswoman Maj. Tammy Spicer said an investigation into the allegations had been conducted but its results weren't being made public because it dealt with personnel matters.

Court documents show the guardsman appeared to be cooperating with authorities, giving investigators access to an email account he used to correspond with supremacist groups and an old cellphone with text messages to members of the American Front. The organization has been identified by both the Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League as a hate group.

Riley's attorney, Mark Kempton, was out of town and didn't immediately return a message from The Associated Press seeking comment. A phone message requesting comment from Riley also wasn't immediately returned.

The ex-guardsman told investigators that while serving in Iraq with the Army in 2008, he "became interested in protecting the white race" and posted on skinhead blogs, including American Front's, and first exchanged messages with its leader, Marcus Faella.

After returning to the United States in 2010, he continued talking to Faella and was invited to a barbecue and camping weekend.

Riley arrived in Florida on July 2, 2011, with a pistol, AK-47 assault rifle and 200 rounds of ammo. The court document says other attendees also were armed, and Faella had 12 AK-47-style rifles, as well as pistols that he lent to members.

The Post-Dispatch reported that Riley began having second thoughts that weekend, concerned that being a member of the American Front could harm "his future opportunities." But he stayed in contact with Faella.

Riley told investigators recently that although he was no longer affiliated with any racist skinhead groups, he still embraced the ideology and thought of himself as a "lone wolf" skinhead.

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