The FBI arrested a security guard from Las Vegas on Thursday who agents say possessed bomb-making materials in support of plans to attack synagogues and LGBTQ centers with the aid of members of a white supremacist group that espouses Nazi philosophies, federal officials said.
Conor Climo, 23, made his initial court appearance Friday in connection with a federal charge of possession of an unregistered firearm, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a written statement.”Namely, the components of a destructive device.”
A further description of the device was not given.
As laid out in a criminal complaint filed Friday,”Climo was communicating with individuals who identified with a white supremacist extremist organization using the National Socialist movement to promote their ideology,” according to the DOJ statement. ” The organization encourages attacks on the federal government, including critical infrastructure, minorities, and members of the LGBTQ community.”
Throughout 2019, authorities alleged Climo took part in encrypted online conversations in which he would regularly use slurs against minorities, Jews and the LGBTQ community.
“He discussed attacking a Las Vegas synagogue and making Molotov cocktails and improvised explosive devices, and he also discussed conducting surveillance on a bar he believed catered to the LGBTQ community located on Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas,” the DOJ statement said.
Evidence seized during the investigation included a notebook with “several hand-drawn schematics for a potential Las Vegas-area attack,” the statement said. “Furthermore, Climo claimed to have tried to recruit a homeless individual for pre-attack surveillance against at least one Las Vegas synagogue and other targets. His recruitment attempts proved fruitless.”
If convicted as charged, Climo faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
“Threats of violence motivated by hate and intended to intimidate or coerce our faith-based and LGBTQ communities have no place in this country,” U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada Nicholas Trutanich said. “Law enforcement in Nevada remains determined to use the full weight of our investigative resources to prevent bias-motivated violence before it happens. I commend our partners who identified the threat and took swift and appropriate action to ensure justice and protect the community.”
FBI Las Vegas Division Special Agent in Charge Aaron Rouse said he was proud of the work of Joint Terrorism Task Force members.
“As this complaint illustrates, the FBI will always be proactive to combat threats that cross a line from free speech to potential violence,” he said.