Former Army soldier who plotted 'jihadi attack' on fellow service members sentenced to prison
Ethan Melzer, of Kentucky, plotted with a British hate group to commit a 'jihadi attack' on his unit, federal prosecutors said
A former U.S. Army soldier was sentenced to 45 years in prison for attempting to provide a Europe-based neo-Nazi, Satanist, and pro-jihadist group by giving it classified information to attack his unit, federal prosecutors said Friday.
Ethan Melzer, 24, of Kentucky, pleaded guilty last year to attempting to murder U.S. service members, providing and attempting to provide material support to terrorists, and illegally transmitting national defense information.
He was arrested by the FBI on June 10, 2022 after investigators claimed he gave sensitive military information to the Order of Nine Angles, a British neo-Nazi Satanist group with pro-Jihadi views that encourages extreme violence in an effort to destabilize society and attempts to overthrow what it views as Jewish control of global culture and economics.
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"Ethan Melzer infiltrated the U.S. Army in service of a neo-Nazi, white supremacist and jihadist group," said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams. "He used his membership in the military to pursue an appalling goal: the brutal murder of his fellow U.S. service members in a carefully plotted ambush."
Melzer, who is from Louisville, Ky., joined the Army in 2018. A year later, he allegedly joined O9A, which expresses admiration for Nazis, such as Adolf Hitler, and Islamic jihadists, the Justice Department said.
In October 2019, Melzer and his unit were deployed to Italy as a member of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. While there, he consumed extremists propaganda from O9A and the Islamic State. In May 2020, the Army told Melzer he would be assigned to another unit slated for deployment where they would be guarding a military base.
He then began passing information to O9A members using an encrypted application. He allegedly pledged his allegiance to O9A and relayed sensitive information about his unit's upcoming deployment including the location, movement and security of the service members.
Melzer and his alleged co-conspirators used this information to plan what they referred to as a "jihadi attack" with the objective of causing a "mass casualty" event victimizing his fellow service members.
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He told the hate group that he knew he could be a casualty of the attack, saying "who gives a f--- ... it would be another war ... I would've died successfully ... cause another 10 year war in the Middle East would definitely leave a mark," authorities said.
"Today’s sentence holds Mr. Melzer accountable for an egregious and shameful act of betrayal against his own military unit and his country," said Assistant U.S. Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.