FBI charges white supremacist with terrorism on Amtrak train

FBI charges white supremacist with terrorism on Amtrak train
A Missouri man with links to a white supremacist group who forcibly stopped an Amtrak train in Nebraska last year, and expressed an intent to “kill black people,” has been charged with terrorism.

The FBI charged Taylor Michael Wilson with terrorist attacks and other violence against railroad carriers and mass transportation systems in a District Court in Lincoln, Nebraska, according to court documents.

A stockpile of assault rifles, ammunition and white supremacist literature was discovered during a search of Wilson’s home. Wilson might also be connected with two alleged hate crimes in the area.

The charges stem from an October 2017 incident in which Wilson allegedly broke into a secure area of an Amtrak train while armed, forcing the train to stop and threatening Amtrak staff, according to documents unsealed Wednesday.

The conductor and others subdued Wilson, then held him and waited for deputies from Furnas and Harlan counties to arrive in Oxford, Nebraska, where the eastbound train with about 175 people on board had stopped. No injuries were reported.

FBI Special Agent Monte Czaplewski said there was probable cause to believe that electronic devices possessed by Wilson and firearms owned by him “have been used for or obtained in anticipation of engaging in or planning to engage in criminal offenses against the United States.”

An acquaintance of Wilson’s had tipped the FBI that he had been acting strangely since June, and had joined a neo-Nazi group he had found while researching white supremacy forums online.  

An informant told the FBI that Wilson had expressed interest in “killing black people” and other non-whites. The informant also said they thought he was responsible for a road rage incident in April 2016 in St. Charles, where a man pointed a gun at a black woman for no apparent reason while driving on Interstate 70, according to Agent Czaplewski. In a separate incident, he was said to have vandalized St. Louis restaurants with “Whites Only” signs in September, according to St. Louis Post Dispatch. The FBI said they believed Wilson had also traveled to the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August.

Wilson, who has a Missouri permit to carry a concealed handgun, was found to have a loaded .38-caliber handgun in his waistband, a speed loader in his pockets and National Socialist Movement business card on him when he was arrested. In his backpack he had three more speed loaders, a box of ammunition, a knife, scissors and a ventilation mask.

In late October, a judge ordered Wilson to undergo a competency evaluation at his attorney’s request. He was found competent to proceed, according to court records. He was released on December 11 on a $100,000 bond.

Two days later, when the FBI searched his home in Missouri, they found a hidden compartment  with multiple weapons, ammunition and other tactical instruments including a fully automatic assault rifle and a gun that had been converted into a short-barrel rifle, both potentially violating federal gun laws.

Investigators also found videos and PDF files on Wilson’s phone of a white supremacist banner over a highway, other neo-Nazi posts, and documents with titles including ‘100 Deadly Skills,’ ‘The Anarchists Cookbook,’ and ‘Poor Man’s James Bond,’ all related to how to kill people.

The documents “are often possessed and utilized by individuals and groups attempting or planning to commit criminal acts or acts of terrorism or violence,” Czaplewski wrote in the affidavit.

Wilson is in federal custody after being arrested on December 23.

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