Man Who Claimed Trump Will Start a ‘Racial War and Crusade’ Is Arrested

A Nazi sympathizer who threatened to butcher a Hispanic woman and boasted that President Trump would wipe out nonwhites in a “racial war and crusade” was arrested on charges of making threats, the F.B.I. said on Tuesday.

Prosecutors said that the suspect, Eric Lin, 35, sent a barrage of chilling and gruesome Facebook messages to the unidentified woman, who lives in Miami. Mr. Lin was arrested on Friday in Seattle, where he had recently moved from Clarksburg, Md., but was charged in Miami.

“This is a RACE WAR and ALL of you will DIE!” Mr. Lin wrote to the woman on Facebook in early June, according to a criminal complaint. The next day, he wrote, “You want to see what a real Nazi can do?” adding later that he was operating under the authority of Hitler. In July, he wrote that “I thank God everyday President Donald John Trump is President and that he will launch a Racial War and Crusade.”

Mr. Lin’s arrest was the latest example in a series of what the authorities say are racially motivated threats and possible attacks by violent domestic extremists that have received renewed attention amid a spate of mass shootings and other violence. “Domestic violent extremists collectively pose a steady threat of violence and economic harm to the United States,” the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, said last month at a Senate hearing.

[The F.B.I. has grappled with the limits on its power as it pushes to fight domestic extremism.]

Nearly all of those extremists are young white men. Some target their victims because of their ethnic heritage, such as the gunman who killed 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso on Aug. 3. The suspect has said he was targeting Mexicans who frequented the store near the Texas border.

The El Paso suspect also wrote an anti-immigration manifesto using language echoing that of Mr. Trump, who drew protests when he visited the city after the massacre. Democrats have accused Mr. Trump of stirring racial hatred as he fills his public remarks with fear-stoking language and sometimes false messaging.

The authorities have also arrested two men in Ohio, a state of growing concern for F.B.I. domestic terrorism investigators, in the weeks since a man walked into a Dayton bar and shot 26 people in half a minute, killing nine.

One of the men arrested in Ohio was accused of stockpiling weapons and ammunition and trumpeting the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 people, as he made threats against Planned Parenthood. The other hinted at an attack on a local Jewish community center, prosecutors said, and had anti-Semitic and white nationalist propaganda inside his house.

Federal agents this month also charged a Las Vegas man who they said had discussed attacking a synagogue and had bomb-making materials at home. Prosecutors said he was also communicating with people who identify with a white supremacist organization. And the F.B.I. also arrested a man in Chicago who the authorities said had promised to “slaughter and murder” staff and visitors at an abortion clinic, a typical target of domestic terrorists.

The F.B.I. has said that attacks by racially motivated violent extremists are on the rise and that it is taking the threat seriously while working with state and local law enforcement to thwart attacks. “We have lots and lots of investigations in that space,” Mr. Wray said this year. “It’s a steady, persistent threat against all those different types of domestic terrorism.”

The trend has prompted calls to create a federal law to fight domestic terrorism. The statute that defines domestic terrorism carries no penalties, and investigators are limited by other factors, including First Amendment protections on hate speech. Some members of Congress recently introduced legislation to add penalties to the domestic terrorism law.

According to a criminal complaint against Mr. Lin, the woman in Miami told the F.B.I. that she thought he had frequented the restaurant where she worked in Florida.

She compiled 150 pages’ worth of hateful messages from him, in which he called for the extermination of all Hispanics and other racial and ethnic groups. The F.B.I. said Mr. Lin discussed “mass shootings and idolization of Adolf Hitler.” In one instance, he sent her a picture of himself wearing a shirt that bore a photograph of Hitler superimposed over his face.

Eventually, he began discussing kidnapping the woman and injuring her co-worker. He asked an associate to trick her into renting a house, where she would be ambushed, according to the criminal complaint. Mr. Lin said he would pay the associate $25,000 after he drove the chained woman to Seattle. Because she is Hispanic and hates whites, Mr. Lin asserted, “I doubt the F.B.I. would care much about her.”

On Monday, Mr. Lin made an initial appearance in federal court in Seattle, and a detention hearing was scheduled for next week. His lawyer was not immediately available for comment. A spokeswoman for the United States attorney’s office in Miami declined to answer questions.