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Louisville soldier with ties to neo-Nazi group indicted in plot to carry out deadly ambush of Army unit, DOJ says

A U.S. Attorney called 22-year-old Private Ethan Melzer "an enemy from within."

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Department of Justice has indicted a Louisville soldier accused of planning a “mass casualty” attack on service members in his Army unit.

In the unsealed indictment, officials say 22-year-old Private Ethan Melzer of Louisville, sent sensitive information including his unit’s location, movements and security to members of a London-based neo-Nazi and white supremacist group called Order of the Nine Angels (O9A).

Melzer joined the Army in 2018 and his ties to the group, known for their violent, anti-Semitic and Satanic beliefs, started a year later. Officials say Melzer also consumed propaganda from other extremist groups including the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, also known as ISIS during the time of his October 2019 deployment.

During the investigation, the FBI said they seized an ISIS-issued document from Melzer’s iCloud account with the title, “Harvest of the Soldiers” and described attacks and murders of U.S. personnel in April 2020.

Army officials told Melzer he was headed to another deployment overseas with his unit. That’s when investigators said he sought to facilitate a deadly attack on his fellow service members.

They said Melzer used an encrypted application to seen messages to members and those associated with O9A and a similar group called “RapeWaffen Division”. These messages also included his commitment to the hate group and information in relation to his unit’s deployments for purposes of attacking Melzer’s unit.

Investigators said Melzer and his co-conspirators planned what they called a “jihadi attack” during deployment with their end goal of causing a mass casualty event, victimizing his fellow service members.

He allegedly said in electronic communications that he would likely be killed during the attack. He described his willingness to die writing, “who gives a [expletive] [. . .] it would be another war . . . I would’ve died successfully . . . cause [] another 10 year war in the Middle East would definitely leave a mark.”

Melzer was also accused of sending electronic correspondence regarding the deployment to a purported member of Al Qaeda.

Investigators said Melzer promised to leak more information “once he arrived at the location of the new deployment in order to try to maximize the likelihood of a successful attack on his unit.”

“As alleged, Ethan Melzer, a private in the U.S. Army, was the enemy within. Melzer allegedly attempted to orchestrate a murderous ambush on his own unit by unlawfully revealing its location, strength, and armaments to a neo-Nazi, anarchist, white supremacist group,” Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss for the Southern District of New York, said. “

Melzer admitted his role in the plot during a voluntary interview with military investigators and the FBI. He allegedly told them he intended to plan the attack to result in the deaths of as many of his fellow service members as possible.

Melzer declared himself to be a traitor against the United States and described his conduct as treasonous.

He is charged with conspiring to murder U.S. nationals, attempting to murder U.S. nationals, conspiring to murder U.S. military, attempting to murder U.S. service members, attempting to provide and providing support to terrorists and conspiring to murder and main in a foreign country.

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