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White Supremacist Group Member is 4th Convicted in Michigan

CARO, Mich. (AP) — A young Michigan man accused of being in a white supremacist group has pleaded no contest to conspiracy and other crimes that included assessing whether vacant state properties could be used for paramilitary training, authorities said Tuesday.

Four members of a group called The Base have been convicted in Tuscola or Washtenaw counties since charges were filed in 2020, the attorney general’s office said.

“We will not hesitate to prosecute those who commit crimes in the name of overthrowing our government or perpetuating racist ideologies,” said Attorney General Dana Nessel, who also gave credit to the FBI, state police and the Tuscola County prosecutor.

The Base is a group that has pushed a fringe philosophy advocating mass violence to hasten society’s collapse.

Tristan Webb pleaded no contest Monday to gang membership, conspiracy to train for civil disorder and a gun charge.

Investigators said he and two others, Justen Watkins and Thomas Denton, entered two vacant Corrections Department properties in Caro in 2020 to assess whether they could be used as “hate camps.”

Watkins in April pleaded guilty to conspiracy and a gun charge. Separately, he pleaded guilty to gang membership in Washtenaw County for a different incident in 2019.

Denton was sentenced to at least two years in prison for conspiracy and a gun charge. A fourth man, Alfred Gorman, was sentenced in February to probation for gang membership.

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