- The court found Melzer guilty of sharing sensitive information with the extremist group.
- Melzer’s attorney requested to lessen his punishment but failed to get any relief.
- During the proceedings, Melzer apologized to his platoon members for his recklessness.
Ethan Melzer, shared sensitive information to a neo-Nazi group chat. The 24-year-old had planned to lead an ambush attack to murder his unit in cold blood. Mezler wrote that even if he were killed, “I would’ve died successfully.”
The Louisville local told the Order of the Nine Angles (O9A) group chat that he expected a “mass casualty.” However, the Army and FBI exposed the ambush plan to law enforcement officials on May 26, 2020. Melzer pleaded guilty to conspiring and attempted murder of US military service members.
The authorities arrested Melzer on May 30, 2020. They found O9A books and a burner phone in his bag that he used to communicate with the neo-Nazi group. In June 2022, Melzer pleaded guilty.
On Friday, March 3, 2023, Melzer received a sentence of 45 years. The ex-soldier was found guilty of sharing classified information with motives to help O9A kill his comrades. The Southern District of New York attorney, Damian Williams, states, “Ethan Melzer infiltrated the US Army in service of a neo-Nazi, white supremacist, and jihadist group.”
Melzer had stooped so low that he planned an attack on the very soldiers who entrusted him with their lives.
“Mr. Melzer’s crimes were repugnant,” District Judge Gregory Woods said. The judge added that his assistance to terrorist groups was “corrosive” behaviour. He further stated that Melzer betrayed America and the US military. As a result, the traitor received a 45-year-long sentence.
But, Melzer wrote to the judge that he regrets his actions. According to the New York Times, Melzer wrote, “Every day and night since my arrest, I’ve thought about the damage I’ve done to the people who were supposed to trust me with their lives.”
Following the prosecution, Melzer’s defence team asked for a sentence reduction. The legal team requested to lessen it to 15 years with ten years of supervised release.
Mezler’s attorney Jonathan Marvinny said, “He deserved punishment, but he also deserved the chance to prove he could do something positive with his life. Today’s sentence took that opportunity from him.”
Neo Nazi Order of the Nine Angles (O9A)
O9A is a UK-based, neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic, extremist group that deeply admires Adolf Hitler and his ideas. According to prosecutors, O9A “promotes extreme violence to speed up and cause the demise of Western civilization.”
The group supports and practices violent, satanic, and Nazi beliefs. Members of O9A are trained to gather sensitive data to help infiltrate organizations like the military itself. Melzer’s affiliation with the organization shows the extent of what the group is willing to do to serve its purpose.
A UK-based advocacy organization, ‘Hope not Hate,’ says that O9A encourages followers to commit illegal acts. These include violence, sexual assault, assassination, and satanic beliefs like human sacrifices.
Over the years, O9A has also garnered an online audience. Most of their online followers are “young radicals drawn to extreme fringe ideas.” With more and more malleable minds getting influenced by the extremist group, the situation is getting out of hand – to say the least.
Melzer’s Affiliation with the US Army and O9A
In 2018, Melzer enlisted in the US Army. He later used his rank to leak compromising information to the O9A. By the end of 2019, he was deployed to Italy as a member of the 173rd Airborne team. At the same time, Melzer subscribed to various encrypted online forums and extremist groups.
By May 2020, the military informed Melzer of his reallocation to a special unit. The unit guarded a sensitive military installation in Turkey. Soon, Melzer partook in weeks of thorough training in preparation for the assignment.
Melzer began sharing sensitive information about the unit’s upcoming deployment on Telegram. He shared it on group chats with O9A and a related group, the RapeWaffen division.
The leaked information contained the deployment date and the number of soldiers expected to travel. Moreover, he also disclosed the surveillance and defensive capabilities of the soldiers’ location.
But here’s the interesting part. Someone forwarded Melzer’s messages to a separate O9A group chat. This new group had a confidential FBI source member. Resultantly, the military officials found out about Melzer’s plans and initiated an investigation.
It was worth asking what made Melzer think he could get away with a murderous plot against the military. When questioned, he replied, “I fly under the radar.” He always acted normal and didn’t discuss his personal life or beliefs with anyone.
He apologized to his fellow platoon members during his sentencing. “I still regret everything I did,” Melzer said in Manhattan federal court. Although everyone remained unharmed, his attempt to murder his fellow soldiers was unforgivable. His punishment was inevitable.