FBI Arrests Alleged Hate Leaders

Associated Press/November 13, 2000
By Ben Fox

San Diego -- The 25-year-old publisher of a racist Internet newsletter was charged with vandalism and making threats against a Jewish congressman, a Hispanic mayor and others in what federal authorities called a campaign of intimidation.

The arrest ended a two-year investigation of a white supremacist group which planned and carried out racially motivated violence under the direction of Alex James Curtis, publisher of the Nationalist Observer newsletter, auhtorities said Friday. Also charged was follower Michael Brian DaSilva, 21, who already is in custody on an unrelated weapons charge.

Gregory Vega, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California, said the two were charged with conspiracy to commit civil rights violations and obstruction of justice in the 10-page indictment.

"We have absolutely zero tolerance for these types of cowardly acts," Vega said.

Curtis and DaSilva were in custody and could not comment. They do not yet have lawyers.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has called Curtis an emerging national white supremacist leader.

No direct acts of violence are alleged in the indictment, but federal authorities said the two carried out the vandalism and issued threats over the last three years.

The indictment claims the men put anti-Semitic materials outside the office of Democratic Rep. Bob Filner and shoved a snake skin through the office mail slot.

"It frightened a lot of people in my office," Filner said. "I'm glad it was taken seriously. Sometimes these things aren't."

The two also allegedly left threats and anti-Hispanic slogans and a box with a dead hand grenade at the home of La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid.

In addition, the two are accused of spray painting swastikas and other graffiti on two San Diego County synagogues and of leaving racist materials at the home of Morris Casuto, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League of San Diego.

When police and the FBI arrested Curtis at his parents' house Thursday, he had a 9 mm handgun and a large quantity of racist propaganda in his bedroom.

Both men are to be arraigned next week.

Two other men, Robert Nichol Morehouse and Kevin Christopher Holland, have pleaded guilty to the vandalism at the synagogues and are awaiting sentencing.

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