For a month, FBI agents listened in as two members of a white supremacist group discussed their sinister plans: a plot to use a pro-gun rights rally in Richmond, Virginia, to engage in mass murder and attacks on critical infrastructure, which they believed would mark the start of a racial civil war.
Patrik Mathews, a former Canadian Army reservist illegally in the U.S., and Brian Lemley, a Maryland resident and self-described white nationalist, fantasized about the brutal murders they'd soon carry out against law enforcement and Black people, all with the goal of bringing about the "Boogaloo," or the collapse of the U.S. government in order to prop up a white ethno-state, according to recordings of the pair's discussions.
"We need to go back to the days of ... decimating Blacks and getting rid of them where they stand," Mathews said in one recording. "If you see a bunch of Blacks sitting on some corner you f***ing shoot them."
"I need to claim my first victim," Lemley said in another recording. "It's just that we can't live with ourselves if we don't get somebody's blood on our hands."
The two men were each sentenced in late October to nine years in prison, and ABC News has now obtained newly released audio from the FBI's secret recording of Mathews and Lemley at their Delaware residence in late 2019.
The tapes offer a chilling look into the private plotting of the two members of "The Base," a white supremacist extremist group that the FBI says has, since 2018, recruited members both in the U.S. and abroad through a combination of online chat rooms, private meetings, and military-style training camps. In their plea agreements and at sentencing, Mathews and Lemley both acknowledged their membership in the group.
After the two men were arrested in January 2020, just days before the Richmond rally was set to take place, law enforcement found tactical gear, 1,500 rounds of ammunition, and packed cases of food and supplies in their residence.
In the course of their investigation they also found that Lemley and Mathews had both attended military-style training camps with other members of The Base, and had built a functioning assault rifle that they tested out at a gun range in Maryland.
The recordings captured by the FBI included Mathews and Lemley discussing potential acts of terror they could carry out around the Richmond rally that would lead authorities and, eventually, the U.S. government, to capitulate to the chaos and bloodshed taking place.
"You wanna create f***ing some instability while the Virginia situation is happening, make other things happen," Mathews said. "Derail some rail lines ... shut down the highways ... shut down the rest of the roads ... kick off the economic collapse of the U.S. within a week after the [Boogaloo] starts."
"I mean, even if we don't win, I would still be satisfied with a defeat of the system ... and whatever was to come in its place would be preferable than what there is now," Lemley said. "And if it's not us, then you know what, we still did what we had to do."
Prior to their sentencing, Mathews and Lemley had pleaded guilty to firearms and immigration violation-related charges. At their Oct. 28 sentencing hearing, U.S. district judge Theodore Chuang went above the sentencing guidelines in applying a terrorism enhancement to each charge, sentencing both men to nine years in federal prison.
FBI Director Christopher Wray testified earlier this year that the number of domestic terrorism investigations into white supremacist individuals and groups has tripled since he joined the bureau in 2017.