“The Base” Leader Re-Sentenced in Washtenaw County

The leader of a national white supremacist group that advocates for violence against the government has been re-sentenced by a Washtenaw County judge.  Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced that Judge Patrick Conlin sentenced Justen Watkins of Bad Axe to 56 months to 20 years. He pleaded guilty to gang membership felonies in connection to a December 2019 incident in Dexter, in which Watkins and his co-defendant, Alfred Gorman, used intimidation tactics at a family’s home and posted messages to other members of The Base, targeting the home. In May, Watkins was sentenced to at least 32 months for conspiring to train for a civil disorder in Tuscola County Circuit Court. That case resulted from joint investigations by Michigan State Police at the Caro Post and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.

“I refuse to allow domestic terrorists to incite violence against our residents and communities,” said Nessel. “I am proud to work alongside law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal levels to safeguard the public from these serious threats and gratified to see justice served.”

Nessel’s office said The Base  is the literal translation of “Al-Qaeda” in English. It was founded in 2018. They said it purports to be training for a race war to establish white ethnonationalist rule in areas of the U.S., including Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Nessel’s office said the group also traffics in Nazi ideology and extreme anti-Semitism. It was founded in 2018.