But unsurprisingly, Merryman, who reportedly had ties to the neo-Nazi outfits Atomwaffen and The Base, was in fact speaking to undercover federal agents. Merryman, 20, is from Jefferson, a town located on the northeastern edge of Texas.
U.S. marshals arrested Merryman in October 2019, federal authorities indicted him, and he remained in jail. Last week, he pleaded guilty to distributing information relating to explosives and destructive devices, according to the U.S. Department of Justice in East Texas.
Now, he could face up to two decades in a federal prison.
According to court documents, Merryman sent detailed guidelines for cobbling together pipe bombs and pressure cooker explosives to undercover feds and urged them to “target federal law enforcement and critical infrastructure, such as electrical substations,” a DOJ press release notes.
Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei said in the release that Merryman “had the knowledge, intent, and capability to inflict great harm on our East Texas community.”
Matthew DeSarno, the special agent in charge for the Dallas FBI, said Merryman shared “his knowledge and expertise” with people he fully believed would “cause significant damage or injury” their targets.
Investigative reporter Nate Thayer previously reported on Merryman’s case, digging up records that showed Merryman had been arrested by local police in Atlanta, Texas, for plastering white nationalist stickers around town in March 2019.
Thayer and online sleuths found that, while using the pseudonym “Sam Dmass,” Merryman often posted on social media outlets like Facebook, praising mass shooters like Dylann Roof, the white nationalist who fatally gunned down nine African American worshippers at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.
Beau Daniel Merryman aka "Sam Dmass", 19, of Jefferson, Texas, connected to Atomwaffen Division, The Base & Bowl Patrol, plotted to blow up federal buildings. Merryman made pipe bombs and distributed blueprints to other neo-Nazis, and made plans for targeting “energy facilities". https://t.co/yE2cNSM6V1 pic.twitter.com/A61zn2f7DE— Heresy Labs (@heresysquad) April 30, 2020
He also shared banners and memes made by Atomwaffen, a Texas-based neo-Nazi group that has been linked to several murders around the country.
The Southern Poverty Law Center estimates that Texas is home to some 54 hate groups, including neo-Nazis, white nationalists, anti-LGBTQ organizations and anti-Muslim outfits, among others.
Believe it or not, Texas has something of a neo-Nazi problem. In recent months, white nationalist protests have failed to attract supporters in Fort Worth and other cities in North and Central Texas, but authorities say they've clamped down to prevent several potential attacks.
Earlier this year, the FBI in Dallas arrested Christian Michael Mackey, a Grand Prairie neo-Nazi who had tried to sell an illegal gun to an undercover agent. Mackey, who called himself the “radical Jew slayer,” had urged fellow neo-Nazis to shoot and kill Black people, Jews and others.
In May, Mackey pleaded guilty to a federal gun charge.
In late May, the Kerr County Sheriff’s Office announced that they’d arrested Coleman Thomas Blevins, a 28-year-old neo-Nazi they said planned to carry out a mass shooting at a Walmart, USA Today reported at the time.
When officers searched his home, “firearms, ammunition, electronic evidence, concentrated THC, and radical ideology paraphernalia, including books, flags, and handwritten documents were seized,” according to a statement at the time.
The incident came nearly two years after Patrick Crusius, an Allen resident, allegedly drove to El Paso and shot dead 23 people in a Walmart. In a manifesto, Crusius reportedly said he decided to carry out the mass shooting to fight the “Hispanic invasion of Texas.”