Final Marine Veteran Accused in Neo-Nazi Plot to Blow Up Power Grid Pleads Guilty to Gun Charges

The silhouette of electric lines as the sun sets
The silhouette of electric lines as the sun sets, Wednesday, June 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The last man in a neo-Nazi group dominated by veterans has pleaded guilty to charges related to their plot to target energy facilities in the northwest U.S., federal prosecutors announced Tuesday.

Jordan Duncan, 29, a former Marine assigned previously to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the manufacturing of a firearm, the U.S. attorney's office in Idaho, Duncan's home state, announced in a statement.

Duncan's co-conspirators discussed recruiting veterans into "a modern-day SS" on a now-defunct neo-Nazi message board called Iron March; stole military equipment; discussed plans to manufacture firearms; and "gathered a library of information, some military-owned, regarding firearms, explosives, and nerve toxins," according to Tuesday's statement.

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The group of extremists that Duncan belonged to was allegedly active between 2017 and 2020, according to federal indictments. Aside from him, the group was made up of another pair of 25-year-old Marine veterans -- Liam Collins, a former lance corporal stationed at Camp Lejeune, and Justin Hermanson, who was in the same Marine unit as Collins. Army National Guardsman Joseph Maurino, 25, was also part of the group.

The last member of the group was 38-year-old Paul Kryscuk, who appears not to have a military background.

    The indictment described the group as starting to come together in 2016 when Collins, then still on active duty with the Marine Corps, began using the Iron March message boards to recruit members.

    "Everyone [in the group] is going to be required to have served in a nation's military, whether US, UK, or Poland," Collins wrote in 2016, according to the indictment.

    "I'll be in the USMC for 4 years while my comrades work on the groups [sic] physical formation. ... It will take years to gather all the experience and intelligence that we need to utilize -- but that's what makes it fun," the Marine veteran wrote.

    The group of five proceeded to spend the next four years training and plotting. During this time, Kryscuk was manufacturing guns while Collins stole military gear, including magazines for assault-style rifles, and delivered them to the group.

    The men also recorded a propaganda video around this time in which they fired various assault-type rifles and made the "Heil Hitler" sign beneath the image of a black sun Neo-Nazi symbol.

    According to the attorney's office statement, in 2020, investigators discovered "a handwritten list of approximately one dozen intersections and places in Idaho and surrounding states ... including intersections and/or places containing a transformer, substation, or other component of the power grid for the northwest United States" in Kryscuk's possession.

    Since the group's arrest, the five men all have pleaded guilty to various crimes.

    Kryscuk entered a plea of guilty to conspiracy to destroy an energy facility, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, in February 2022.

    Hermanson and Maurino pleaded guilty in the spring of 2023 to conspiring to manufacture firearms and ship them across state lines, while Collins pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the interstate transportation of unregistered firearms in October.

    With Duncan's guilty plea, the five are now all set to be sentenced by a federal judge in the Eastern District of North Carolina, the statement said.

    The group is far from the only military members or veterans who have been arrested for being part of extremist groups and plotting violence. has reported extensively on how extremist groups not only target veterans for recruitment but also how, once radicalized, they pose a far greater threat than other extremists.

    In February 2023, Brandon Russell, a former Army National Guardsman and self-described Nazi, was arrested on allegations of also plotting to destroy parts of the electrical grid in Maryland. That case is still ongoing.

    Russell was a top leader of the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division and was previously sentenced to five years in prison in 2018 on charges relating to possessing explosives.

    In 2022, another Marine veteran, Matthew Belanger, was arrested on several gun charges. Court documents said that Belanger was a leading member of a neo-Nazi group known as Rapekrieg.

    Those documents also alleged that "Rapekrieg members have purchased uniforms, including black body armor with level-3 plates, military helmets, green utility uniforms, and a skull facemask," and that the group, including Belanger, discussed "shooting up" a synagogue in the Long Island area of New York. They even went as far as to surveil the building "but eventually decided that burning it down at night using Molotov cocktails was a better plan," the witness told investigators.

    Belanger pleaded guilty to two gun charges in 2023 and has since been released on supervised release, court records show.

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