WASHTENAW COUNTY, Mich. – The self-proclaimed leader of the white supremacist group “The Base,” who apparently ran a “hate camp” in Michigan for members to prepare to violently overthrow the government, was re-sentenced by a Washtenaw County judge.
Justen Watkins was sentenced to 56 months to 20 years after pleading guilty to gang membership felonies in connection to a December 2019 incident in Dexter.
Officials said Watkins and his co-defendant, Alfred Gorman, used intimidation tactics at a family’s home and posted messages to other white supremacist group members targeting the home.
Gorman pled guilty to gang membership felonies in January 2022 and was sentenced to four years of probation and a one-year jail term which is suspended pending successful completion of probation.
“I refuse to allow domestic terrorists to incite violence against our residents and communities,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “I am proud to work alongside law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal levels to safeguard the public from these serious threats and gratified to see justice served.”
In May, Watkins was sentenced to at least 32 months for conspiring to train for civil disorder in Tuscola County Circuit Court. The May convictions secured against Watkins and others in Tuscola County marked the first in Michigan history that conspiring to train for a civil disorder was charged.
The Washtenaw County conviction is also the first time using the gang membership felony when charging a white supremacist terror cell under Michigan law.
Members of “The Base,” “Invictus Youth,” and “Aryan Resistance” attended the “hate camp.” A “hate camp” is a term used by the group to indicate that they would be learning firearms tactical training and other paramilitary-style techniques. Not long after the “hate camp,” Webb was vetted to become a full member.
“The Base,” which is a literal translation of “Al-Qaeda” in English, was founded in 2018. It’s a white supremacy gang that advocates for violence and criminal acts against the United States. It claims to be training gang members for a race war to establish white ethnonationalist rule in areas of the U.S., including Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.