A Marine veteran who was accused of orchestrating a plot to attack the U.S. power grid will be sentenced in January after pleading guilty to one of five charges against him.
Liam Collins, who joined the Marine Corps in 2017 and was a leader of a neo-Nazi group, was accused by federal authorities of building and selling firearms, threatening to shoot Black Lives Matter protestors and conspiring to destroy government-owned energy facilities. Collins was kicked out of the Marine Corps in 2020.
Facing charges alongside four others from his neo-Nazi group, Collins pleaded guilty Oct. 24 — as part of a plea deal — to one weapons charge for delivering an unregistered firearm across state lines, according to court records. He pleaded not guilty to other weapons charges and to one count of destruction of an energy facility.
The plea agreement remained sealed by the court as of Friday. Collins’ attorney didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the case. The court scheduled his sentencing for Jan. 23 in Wilmington, North Carolina.
According to federal indictments, Collins joined the Marine Corps with the intention of gaining experience and training to benefit his neo-Nazi group, which went by the acronym BSN. He was stationed at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina, where he allegedly stole body armor and rifle magazines and delivered them to other neo-Nazi members, according to federal prosecutors.
Posting on the now-defunct web forum Iron March under the aliases “Disciple” and “Niezgoda,” Collins described his neo-Nazi group as “a modern day SS” that goes hiking and camping together, does gym sessions and performs live-firing training exercises, according to the indictment. Collins reportedly added that the group had planned to “buy a lot of land,” and posted that everyone in the group would be required to have served in the military.
“I’ll be in the USMC for 4 years while my comrades work on the groups [sic] physical formation,” Collins posted in 2016. “It will take years to gather all the experience and intelligence that we need to utilize — but that’s what makes it fun.”
Charged alongside Collins were Jordan Duncan, Paul Kryscuk, Justin Hermanson and Joseph Maurino. Duncan served in the Marines from 2013 to 2018, and then worked as a contractor for the Air Force and later the Navy. Hermanson served in the Marines as part of the same unit that Collins was last assigned, and Maurino was a member of the New Jersey Army National Guard.
In a message to Collins on Iron March, Kryscuk shared his ideas for the group, which included buying property in “predominantly white and right leaning” locations, where they could recruit residents and stockpile weapons to take over local governments and industries.
According to the indictments, the group had planned to destroy transformers, substations and other components of the power grid at about a dozen locations across Idaho and its surrounding states. Prosecutors accused Collins of asking BSN members to purchase thermite, a powdered mixture used in incendiary bombs. The group had discussed using the substance to burn through transformers.
“It was the purpose of the conspiracy for the defendants ... to attack the power grid both for the purpose of creating general chaos and to provide cover and ease of escape in those areas in which they planned to undertake assassinations and other desired operations to further their goal of creating a white ethno-state,” the indictment reads.
Plea deals have already been reached in the cases against Kryscuk, Hermanson and Maurino. Kryscuk pleaded guilty in 2022 to the charge of destruction of an energy facility, according to court records. Hermanson pleaded guilty in 2022 to one weapons charge, and Maurino pleaded guilty to a weapons charge earlier this year. None of the individuals have been sentenced, court records show.
In August, Duncan filed to have his indictments dropped, arguing the charges against him were unconstitutional, WGHP reported.
Nikki Wentling covers disinformation and extremism for Military Times. She's reported on veterans and military communities for eight years and has also covered technology, politics, health care and crime. Her work has earned multiple honors from the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, the Arkansas Associated Press Managing Editors and others.