A former Canadian soldier who is accused of participation in a neo-Nazi terror group is suspected by Minnestoa police to have recently illegally entered the US by crossing into rural Minnesota, a state where an active cell of the group is believed to be present.
Police are warning the public not to approach him.
Patrik Mathews, a Canadian Armed Forces member who is now suspended from duty, has been linked to the group and missing for almost two weeks. The 26-year-old Mathews was exposed as a member of The Base through a series of explosive stories in which Winnipeg Free Press reporter Ryan Thorpe went undercover to gain access to the group and meet in person with Mathews.
Recently Mathews truck was found near Sprague, Manitoba, close to the US border. Minnesota Police have speculated that the young man crossed over into the United States and have issued a warning to not approach Mathews if spotted. Global News reports that a bulletin was issued to Minnesota police departments that warned Mathews most likely crossed the border on foot.
An image obtained earlier this year by VICE from The Base, a neo-Nazi terror network purporting to unify militant white supremacists around the globe and provide them with paramilitary training in preparation for a ‘race war’, shows a solitary man, face half-covered with a skull mask and a caption reading “The Base: Minnesota.”
Other images show members of the group in nearby states such as Michigan, New York, New Jersey and an area described as the “North Central” U.S., which showed two masked members in military-style fatigues, while another photo showed two masked men holding assault rifles in the “Great Lakes Region.”
The series of images were used during a recruitment drive by the group, designed to drum up support and announce its presence in various states and countries. Follow-up videos showed several cells training with weapons in what’s suspected to be inside of the territorial U.S..
The Base is attempting to expand worldwide by actively bringing together existing groups in the extremely fractious far-right ecosystem. Founded in mid-2018 the group operates in cells and attempts to provide their recruits with paramilitary style training. The group is explicitly fascist and is obsessed with accelerating a race war.
"The Base is particularly dangerous because of [its] focus on developing and sharing skills useful for terrorism and guerilla warfare, such as ambushes, weapons training, and making explosives," Joshua Fisher-Birch, research analyst at the Counter Extremism Project, said in a previous VICE story about The Base. "This is a radical group that not only wants violence but is preparing for it."
Mathews’ truck was located on Monday and inside of it was the young man's identification and wallet. The truck was found just a few minutes from the US/Canadian border and only 15 kilometres north of Roseau, Minn—a small border town of about 3,000. In a news release, the RCMP say they found the vehicle on a rural property in the small municipality of Piney. They searched the area but did not find Mathews. They believe the vehicle was parked there for up to a week before being found. A missing person report for Mathews was filed last week and he is last believed to have been seen by his family on August 24.
In a Facebook post put up on September 3, the Roseau County Sheriff's Office warned their citizens to not approach Mathews if spotted. The RCMP reiterated the importance of not approaching Mathews in their press release.
“The RCMP believe Mr. Mathews may be under a significant amount of pressure due to this ongoing investigation and the extensive media coverage it has garnered,” reads the release. Anyone who sees him is asked to call police immediately and to avoid engaging with him.”
Mathews has not faced any charges but is the subject of two investigations, one by the RCMP who conducted a “public wellness” search of his home several weeks ago and seized firearms and one by the CAF. The CAF said Mathews was trained as a combat engineer and had a “rudimentary” understanding of explosives—they added he was not able to access military weapons outside of training exercises. The CAFdiscarged the former Master Corporal on August 30.
Global News has reported that while attempting to cross the border in the spring Mathews was denied access to the United States and the CAF investigation launched after it was found he had racist books in his vehicle with him. Previously the Base stated that one of their Winnipeg members was denied access to the United States.