FBI Busts 'Atomwaffen' Neo-Nazi in Florida—and Finds Explosive Radiation Materials

An 18-year-old Muslim convert shot and killed his two roommates, who were in possession of bomb-making chemicals.

Photo Credit: Screengrab

Shortly after news broke that Devon Arthurs, an 18-year-old Muslim convert and former white supremacist, had killed two of his friends for attacking his new faith, more details have been revealed about the murders.

According to the Miami Herald, Brandon Russell, Arthurs’ roommate, was in possession of materials intended to build explosives, including a lethal bomb-making chemical named hexamethane triperoxide diamine. FBI and Tampa Police Department officers found the materials in Russell’s garage.

Russell, an admitted neo-Nazi, was arrested May 21 during a traffic stop in Key Largo. Police have not yet revealed why he was pulled over or what he was doing in the Florida Keys.

In Russell’s bedroom, devices used by police bomb technicians alerted to the presence of radiation sources: thorium and americium.

Russell returned home from National Guard duty on May 19 to find that Arthurs had killed his friends. It’s unclear whether the bomb was intended for Arthurs or for another person or group.

The Herald also reports that Russell is a member of a group called “Atomwaffen” (meaning “atomic weapon” in German.) The group has been promoted by the white supremacist Daily Stormer website since last year. The racist site praised the group for holding a protest during “a homo vigil for the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting.”

In January, RadarOnline reported that the group’s leader was a nuclear physics student who was “trying to encourage members to conduct an attack similar to Timothy McVeigh‘s strike in Oklahoma City.”

Police reportedly found a framed photo of Oklahoma City bomber McVeigh in Russell’s bedroom. It is believed that Russell learned to manufacture explosives while at the University of South Florida, where he was a member of the engineering club.

According to the Chicago Maroon, the Atomwaffen Division group has described itself as a “very fanatical, ideological band of comrades who do both activism and militant training. Hand to hand, arms training, and various other forms of training. As for activism, we spread awareness in the real world through unconventional means.”

Note: This article has been updated.

Noor Al-Sibai is a writer and editor for Raw Story, whose work has appeared in Bustle, Everyday Feminism, and Rewire. 

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