Police in California discovered an arsenal of more than 50 firearms, as well as Nazi memorabilia and a Confederate flag, when they served a search warrant on a house in Huntington Beach, California this week.
Mitchell Todd, 51, was taken into custody on Tuesday morning on charges of criminal threats, according to Fox 11 which first broke the story. Given the sheer number of weapons seized, including at least three AK-47-style rifles and more than dozen sniper rifles, weapons charges are expected to be added.
Laguna Beach Police had been investigating Todd since mid-November after he began making threats to a man with whom he’d had a business dispute. According to police, the dispute escalated from verbal threats to a message where one could hear the release of a handgun slide.
EXCLUSIVE: Police find an “arsenal” of 50+ firearms & Nazi memorabilia in the home of a Huntington Beach man charged w/ making criminal threats to kill. AK-47’s & sniper rifles amongst guns recovered. Only 12 registered to the suspect, who is an O.C. business owner. 10pm @FOXLA pic.twitter.com/MKCyJ6Yb31
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) November 28, 2018
“The tip of the iceberg was hearing the releasing of a handgun slide,” Laguna Beach Police Sergeant Jim Cota told Fox 11. “At that point we knew we were dealing with somebody whose got the potential of extreme violence.”
There have been a number of incidents in recent months in which Nazi memorabilia has been discovered on the properties of far-right extremists. In July, police in Miami arrested 72-year-old Walter Stolper, who had planned to launch a bombing attack against Jewish people in his apartment building. Nazi pins, plaques and books were discovered at Stolper’s residence.
In November, federal agents arrested Jeffrey Clark of Washington D.C. on gun charges. Clark had reportedly fantasized about killing “Jews and blacks” and had Nazi memorabilia in his Bloomingdale home.
Despite these arrests, and dozens of repeated incidents of far-right terror over the last 10 years — the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting being the most recent — a November article in The New York Times Magazine revealed there is no wide-reaching federal strategy for dealing with far-right extremists, in contrast to the heavy focus on groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda.
“[Local law enforcement] would be like ‘Thanks for that stuff on Al Qaeda, but what I really need to know is how to handle the Hammerskin [white-supremacist skinhead gang] in my jurisdiction,” former Homeland Security counterterrorism adviser Nate Snyder told the publication.
A 2009 report by the Department of Homeland Security previously warned that far-right extremists could pose a major and continued threat. When the report surfaced however Republicans blasted it, calling it “propaganda,” causing the Obama administration to pull back the report.
ThinkProgress has reached out to Laguna Beach Police for additional information and will update this article if they respond.