OXFORD • A north Mississippi man, arrested as he tried to buy an assault rifle last summer, could spend the next five years in a federal prison after pleading guilty to making racist threats online.
Aubrey Sakai Suzuki, 21, of Nesbit, pleaded guilty Thursday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Oxford to posting on a white supremacist website in late 2020 that he wanted to take part in a revolution and be on the forefront killing Blacks, Hispanics and homosexuals. The charge of sending a threatening communication through interstate commerce carries up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.
During the plea hearing June 30, Assistant U.S. Attorney Clay Dabbs said Suzuki was affiliated with Atomwaffen Division, an online group that promotes a white supremacist extremist ideology through force and/or violence in preparation for a perceived eventual race war. Suzuki also joined a sub-group called National Socialist Order and participated in online chats on the groups’ encrypted online platforms.
On Nov. 4, 2020, Suzuki posted, “Honestly, I don’t want to be a normal person. I want to breathe revolution."
Using racist epithets, he then wrote that he wanted to be with his "mates" killing Blacks, Hispanics and homosexuals and "blowing up the system.”
Suzuki told Senior U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills that he did make the statement knowing it was a threat or would be perceived as a threat. Judge Mills accepted the guilty plea but deferred sentencing until Oct. 13 to allow the government time to prepare a pre-sentencing report which will include a non-binding sentencing guideline.
As part of a plea agreement, the government agreed to drop two other counts of posting threatening messages online, as well as charges of threatening a federal law enforcement officer and making a false statement to a federal agency. With the original five-count indictment, Suzuki faced up to 32 years in prison, up to $1.25 million in fines and post-release supervision.
The charges against Suzuki date back to the summer and early fall of 2020. His online activity and comments brought him under the scrutiny of federal authorities.
In August 2020, he mentioned online that he wanted to buy an assault rifle. Federal agents began following him and tracking his cell phone the following month. In July 2021, the FBI was notified that he had bought a Smith & Wesson AR-15 online from a Sevierville, Tennessee, gun shop and had the weapon transferred to a licensed firearm dealer in Nesbit for pickup. Federal law requires a three-day waiting period before a weapon can be picked up.
FBI agents secured a warrant during that time and arrested Suzuki on Monday July 19, 2021, when he went to pick up his gun. During a detention hearing two days later, Judge Mills ruled Suzuki was a threat to society and ordered him to remain in custody until the trial.
Prior to changing his plea, Suzuki’s court-appointed Assistant Federal Public Defender Gregory Park argued the online comments were spoken in jest and not a “true threat” in a May motion to dismiss. He said the comments were also protected by the First Amendment.
“The messages contain chest puffing, attempted humor, and statements made in jest, among discussion of purchasing weapons and such. This group message was nothing more than a few people who harbored similar views as Mr. Suzuki,” Park said. “There was never mention of actual action being taken or fulfilling the threats allegedly made by Mr. Suzuki.”
Judge Mills denied the motion during a June 2 hearing.