FBI arrests man for making racial threats, newsletter

The Associated Press
Saturday November 11, 2000

SAN DIEGO — The 25-year-old publisher of a racist Internet newsletter and another man were arrested for threats and vandalism targeted at a Jewish congressman, a Hispanic mayor and others in what federal authorities called a campaign of intimidation. 

The arrests resulted from a two-year investigation into a white supremacist cell whose members had planned racially motivated violence, federal authorities said Friday. 

Alex James Curtis, publisher of the Nationalist Observer newsletter, and Michael Brian DaSilva, 21, were indicted on federal charges of conspiracy to commit civil rights violations and obstruction of justice, said U.S. Attorney Gregory Vega. 

Curtis, who has been labeled an emerging national white supremacist leader by the Southern Poverty Law Center, led a small cell that carried out a series of racially motivated crimes in and around San Diego, according to the 10-page indictment. 

“We have absolutely zero tolerance for these types of cowardly acts,” Vega said. 

FBI agents and San Diego police arrested Curtis at his parents’ home Thursday in the San Diego suburb of Lemon Grove. DaSilva was already in custody on an unrelated weapons charge. 

Both men are to be arraigned next week. 

The indictment charges the men left stickers and a sign advocating violence against Jews outside the office of Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif. 

On another occasion, they inserted a snake skin through the mail slot of the door as an intended threat, authorities said. 

“It frightened a lot of people in my office,” Filner said. “I’m glad it was taken seriously. Sometimes these things aren’t.” 

The two also allegedly left written threats, stickers with anti-Hispanic slogans and a box containing an inactive hand grenade at the home of La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid. 

Other incidents included spray painting swastikas and other graffiti on two Jewish synagogues in San Diego County and placing racist material at the home of the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League of San Diego. 

On the Net: 

Southern Poverty Law Center: http://www.splcenter.org