A man from Freeburg is among 31 people of a white nationalist group that were arrested before they could start a riot at a Pride event.
The Belleville News-Democrat reported that Garret Joseph Garland, 23, of Freeburg. Mitchell Frederick Wagner, 24, of Florissant, Mo., also was arrested.
The two are members of the Patriot Front, a racist hate group. The group planned to riot near Coeur d’Alene’s Pride in the Park, an LGBTQ festival. Authorities told media that the group even had a written plan that was “similar to a police or military operations plan.”
According to the News-Democrat, the group was stopped when police pulled over the U-Haul truck they used for transport. Police had been tipped off when someone saw a group putting on masks and picking up shields and looking “like a little army” at a local hotel.
“I don’t think this would have been as successful had we not had one extremely astute citizen who saw something that looked very concerning to them and reported it to us,” Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White said.
Patriot Front was founded after the Charlottesville Unite the Right riot in 2017. The Southern Poverty Law Center lists them as a white nationalist group.