A San Diego man was sentenced to two years in federal prison Monday on weapons charges after making violent online threats about Black Lives Matter demonstrations .
The 33-year-old man, Grey Zamudio, was cuffed back in August and pleaded guilty in December to having an unregistered short-barreled rifle and two unregistered silencers. If a rifle has a barrel shorter than 16 inches, it is generally illegal under California and federal law.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that federal prosecutors said in a sentencing memorandum filed in U.S. District Court that Zamudio “is motivated by a violent ideology and appears eager to commit acts of violence against Black people, liberals and others.”
Someone notified the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force to Zamudio’s social media posts in 2020, which including statements about a need for “vigilante militias,” “crush the liberal terrorist,” and that he was “ready to die” for his beliefs.
Zamudio’s attorney, Leila Morgan, said at his sentencing that how her client acted online was not reflective of how he acted in real life. She added that Zamudio “had a very strong emotional reaction” to racial justice protests last summer because, according to the Union-Tribune, of how they affected small businesses.
“He does have the right to hold beliefs that we may not agree with, that we might not even like,” Morgan said. “Those beliefs, in and of themselves, are not criminal and they are not, in fact, indicative of any future harm, absent weapons that Mr. Zamudio will no longer have access to.”
Here is more on the story from the Union-Tribune:
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Zamudio posted or exchanged messages with controversial online groups, including the Defend East County Facebook group, where members frequently espoused right-wing violence against racial and social justice demonstrators.
Evidence used in the case against Zamudio included cellphone video footage in which Zamudio threatened to run down protesters and another one where he bragged about pointing a gun at a Black Lives Matter demonstrator, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Investigators armed with a warrant searched Zamudio’s house and truck, where they found the illegal rifle and silencers. After securing a gun violence restraining order against Zamudio, San Diego police seized another rifle, two pistols, magazines and several thousand rounds of ammunition.
Authorities also reviewed Zamudio’s cellphone, which revealed posts and text messages where he wrote about assassinating politicians, terrorizing cities and his hope to “get to kill someone finally” who he believed was trying to dox him. Doxxing refers to posting someone’s private information, like their home address, on social media with the goal of causing harm.
“This defendant has demonstrated a very troubling violent ideology, an intent to harm people, a lack of remorse, and a willingness to illegally possess firearms,” acting U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman said in a news release.
A search of Zamudio’s phone also revealed messages between him and a Georgia deputy sheriff, Wilkinson County Deputy Cody Griggers, in an online group called “Shadow Moses,” where they discussed a theoretical civil war, militia training, weapons manufacturing and explosives, according to the FBI. Zamudio and Griggers also discussed leveraging Griggers’ position to distribute law enforcement-only weapons.
As a result of that search, the 28-year-old now-former deputy was prosecuted and sentenced to nearly four years in prison after pleading guilty to possessing unregistered firearms earlier this year.