Arizona man arrested by FBI had Nazi hat, uniform

atomwaffen poster
An example of the poster that was glued to the window of an Arizona Jewish journalist’s home. Image from court records.

An Arizona man arrested by the FBI for allegedly gluing a threatening poster to the editor of a Jewish magazine’s window earlier this year had a Nazi uniform in his home, according to newly filed court documents. 

Johnny Roman Garza of Queen Creek and four other members of the Neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen were arrested last week on conspiracy to mail threatening letters and cyberstalking.

Garza and his co-conspirators are alleged to have sent threatening posters to journalists and activists with messages such as “we know where you live” and “you have been visited by your local Nazis.” 

Atomwaffen is a violent paramilitary Neo-Nazi group that is reportedly preparing for a race war. The group has been connected to violence and murders.

Garza and his co-conspirators were attempting to conduct an operation across three states that would be a “show of force” to intimidate critics of the group, according to court documents

Arizona has seen an increase in activity by extremist groups and their members.

In a filing in Arizona federal court over the weekend, the government posted a list of exhibits for Garza’s detention hearing. 

The exhibits include items found in Garza’s home: a swastika screensaver, a CD cover with German SS Soldiers on it, three T-shirts associated with Neo-Nazis and the four threatening flyers Garza and his co-conspirators were allegedly intending to send.

Also among the items found was a “Nazi Uniform” and “Hat from Nazi Uniform” as well as a Sonnenrad Flag. The flag depicts a sun wheel and has been widely used by Neo-Nazis and was the main image on the cover of the manifesto written by the man who killed 49 people at a mosque in New Zealand last year.  

The government used the exhibits to demonstrate that Garza should not be released from custody. Garza is also expected to be sent to Washington state to face charges there with the other four who have been charged.

The judge ruled that Garza will remain in custody and expressed skepticism that he had cut ties with Atomwaffen, according to a report by the Associated Press

“That’s not something a 20-year-old would normally have,” Magistrate Judge John Boyle said about the FBI finding a bullet proof vest in Garza’s home, the AP reported. 

The group created three posters, each with a blank space at the bottom where they would write the name and address of the person they were targeting. 

One poster featured four swastikas, a man with a press credential and Atomwaffen members holding guns behind him with the words “Death to Pigs” as well as “Two can play at that game, these people have names and addresses.” 

Another poster showed an Atomwaffen member holding a Molotov cocktail with the words “Your actions have consequences, our patience has limits.” 

The third poster contained three swastikas and said “We are watching, we are noone (sic), we are everyone, we know where you live, do not fuck with us.” 

Each poster also declared, “You have been visited by your local Nazis” at the bottom of the poster. 

“I believe if we smash this, we can reap the reward of a nationwide scare,” Garza said in the group messages obtained by the FBI. 

The FBI was able to notify some of the victims in advance, according to the court document. 

On Jan. 25, law enforcement followed Garza as he was picked up in Queen Creek and dropped off at an apartment complex in Phoenix where a member of the Arizona Association of Black Journalists lived. 

Then they drove to the house of “the editor of a local Jewish publication.” The editor later found the “Your actions have consequences” poster with his name and address glued to one of his windows. 

In a statement, the Arizona Association of Black Journalists said it was aware of the threat.

“The Arizona Association of Black Journalists is aware that one of our members was targeted by a suspected white supremacist who was arrested by federal authorities today. While we do not immediately know which member was targeted, we are working with our membership to provide support and ensure the safety of black journalists in Arizona,” said Jamar Younger, the chapter president.

Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
Reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy joins the Arizona Mirror from the Arizona Republic, where he spent 4 years covering everything from dark money in politics to Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals. Jerod has also won awards for his documentary films which have covered issues such as religious tolerance and surveillance technology used by police. He brings strong watchdog sensibilities and creative storytelling skills to the Arizona Mirror.