An American neo-Nazi who went by online names such as “King ov Wrath” and “ilovehate5150” has been arrested for allegedly threatening to kill a reporter who was covering his terrorist organization.
Nicholas Welker was taken into custody by the FBI Tuesday after allegedly helping to create an internet meme that explicitly threatened the life of a U.S. journalist and then sending it directly to the reporter on Twitter. Welker has been charged with conspiracy to transmit threatening communications.
The reporter nor the outlet is not named in the court documents.
Welker was an alleged leader within the international neo-Nazi group, Feuerkrieg Division (FKD), according to court documents. In addition to his other pseudonyms, he also allegedly went by “DankTree2316.”
The Feuerkrieg Division is a now-disbanded neo-Nazi group that was openly accelerationist—meaning it wanted to hasten the collapse of society to build a white ethnostate from the ashes—and had ties to a plethora of violent crimes committed by young men, many of them minors. Members of the group have been charged with child abuse, assault, and plotting violent actions.
Like many other online neo-Nazi groups, the Feuerkrieg Division loves to use memes as propaganda. So when the group allegedly felt threatened by a reporter looking into them, Welker and his fellow neo-Nazis went to work.
The piece of propaganda in particular showed a photo of the journalist with a gun pointed at their head with messages “race traitor,” “journalist fuck off,” and ”you have been warned.” The meme also contained their name and place of employment. Welker allegedly had asked another neo-Nazi to create it and when he saw his vision come to life he responded with an emoji featuring a smiling face covered in hearts.
Welker then allegedly sent the threats directly to the reporter on Twitter asking him if he’s seen their latest work. According to the court documents, an FBI agent was able to ascertain Welker’s identity because of the work of antifascist researchers and remarkably sloppy operational security. After antifascist researchers outted Welker, he confirmed it within the Feuerkrieg Division chatrooms. A month later, he followed up by writing: “Nicholas Hazen Welker Santa Clara County Department of Corrections. That’s my information[.] In case I go missing”, before providing a date of birth.
The Department of Justice described the Feuerkrieg Division as a racially motivated violent extremist group that had “cells in multiple states.” The group took inspiration from Atomwaffen Division and was expressively accelerationist in nature. Like others within this community of groups, they drew from an aesthetic that embraced terrorism and violence.
The Feuerkrieg Division was initially founded in the Balkans by a 13-year-old Estonia boy who was going by “Commander.” The group became known for the violent actions of its members, death threats, and propaganda. In 2019, U.K. police arrested one member for plotting a mass shooting attack and sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl. One British teenager who was a leader pleaded guilty to 12 terrorism charges in 2021, making him one of Britain’s youngest convicted terrorists. The group was declared a terrorist organization by the U.K. in 2020.
Like other groups in this community, the Feuerkrieg Division had ties to the Order of Nine Angles, a satanic neo-Nazi group connected to child abuse and violent crimes.