NORFOLK, Va. (WTKR) -- A former leader of a white supremacist group pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges related to his role in a conspiracy that conducted multiple "swatting" events targeting journalists, a historic Virginia church, a former cabinet official, and Old Dominion University.
John Cameron Denton, 26, of Montgomery, Texas, is allegedly a former leader of the Atomwaffen Division in Texas.
According to court documents, from October 2018 to at least August 2019, Denton and several others conspired together to conduct “swatting” calls.
Swatting is a harassment tactic that involves deceiving emergency law enforcement dispatchers into believing that a person or persons are in imminent danger of death or bodily harm in an attempt to get the dispatcher to send police and emergency services to an unwitting third party’s address.
One swatting call occurred at a former Cabinet official living in Northern Virginia on January 27, 2019. Another incident occurred at Old Dominion University on November 29 and December 4, 2018; and Alfred Street Baptist Church on November 3, 2018.
Additionally, court documents say Denton swatted the New York City office of ProPublica, a non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism; and an investigative journalist that produced materials for ProPublica.
During the investigation, Denton unknowingly met with an undercover law enforcement officer and told the undercover officer about his role in the swatting conspiracy.
Denton pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison when sentenced on November 17.
Alongside Denton, officials say 19-year-old John William Kirby Kelly, a former ODU student, worked together to conduct swatting calls. The FBI also says there is a third member of the swatting ring that is currently cooperating with law enforcement.