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DOJ: Former Guardsman from Norfolk chatted with extremist group online, had guns while using drugs

Francis Harker, 22, pled guilty to one count of possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of controlled substances, according to court documents.
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NORFOLK, Va. — A former Guardsman from Norfolk was sentenced to over four years in prison for having several firearms while also using illegal drugs, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Monday.

Francis Harker, 22, pled guilty to one count of possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of controlled substances, according to court documents.

The Norfolk office of the FBI began its investigation after hearing that Harker, a member of the Virginia National Guard, was sending messages over Instagram to share plans for violence and support racially-motivated violent extremism.

On June 3, 2020, Harker and another person talked about “interrupting an unjust stop” by trapping law enforcement at a shopping center in Virginia Beach. This was referring to "curfew enforcement and roadblocks in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic," according to court documents.

On that day, Harker got a semi-automatic rifle and lied on the purchase paperwork that he wasn't an unlawful user of any controlled substances, when in fact, he was using illegal drugs, including LSD.

In 2021, Harker bought another gun and lied on the paperwork again.

In November 2021, the FBI searched Harker's residence and found firearms and illegal drugs. He also had around 100 blank COVID-19 vaccination cards he took from the National Guard and mailed to other people across the country.

Investigators also found statements espousing violence towards law enforcement, extremism and white supremacy on Harker’s electronic devices and social media accounts.

Some of the pictures found include a picture displaying the words “Rape the Cops,” a picture of himself doing a Hitler salute and imagery saying “there is no god but Hitler.”

Harker admitted he interacted online with members of a group called “The Base,” which he described as a “group interested in terrorism.”

Investigators also found a backpack in the trunk of Harker’s car that contained components for several Molotov cocktails.

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