Third Aryan Strikeforce member pleads guilty; admits attending meetings in Harrisburg
A third member of a white nationalist organization has pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Henry Lambert Baird, 50, of the Allentown area, entered his plea Wednesday in U.S. Middle District Court.
He admitted taking part in planning meetings in the Harrisburg area with undercover FBI employees and on two occasions in 2017 participating in the transportation of imitation crystal methamphetamine and machine gun parts from Pennsylvania to Maryland.
Baird pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine.
It is the same charge to which Joshua Michael Steever of Manville, N.J., and Connor Drew Dikes, of Silver Spring, Md., pleaded last month. It carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.
Assistant U.S. Attorney and defense attorney E. J. Rymsza estimated Baird’s sentence will be in the range of 17 to 22 years.
Steever was the founder of the Aryan Strikeforce and Dikes was the sergeant of arms of the white nationalist organization, which advocates violence as a necessary tool to achieve its political goals.
Rocktashel, in reciting the prosecution’s evidence, said Baird told the undercover employees he had tried to kill a man hanging around strikeforce members but the individual pushed his arm just as he fired.
The prosecutor said evidence also would show Baird was present for a 2016 discussion about having a terminally ill individual conceal a bomb and detonate it among protestors at a planned white nationalist rally in Harrisburg.
Rymsza would not let his client admit to the attempted killing or bomb discussion, saying they were beyond the scope of the conspiracy charge.
Baird is one of six men indicted as the result of an investigation involving undercover FBI employees who hired strikeforce members to be the “muscle” for the transportation of methamphetamine from the Pennsylvania to Maryland on four occasions in 2016 and 2017.
Strikeforce members were encouraged to use some of their “pay” to buy gift cards that later could be used to purchase weapons, Rocktashel said.
Among the weapons members expressed interest in buying were an Uzi, AK-47 and handguns, he said.
Another defendant, Justin Daniel Lough of Waynesboro, Va., is trying to have his federal indictment dismissed on the basis of outrageous government conduct.
He accuses the government with conceiving, planning and directing the operation in violation of basic principles of due process law.
Rocktashel rejects the allegations, saying well before the undercover investigation the FBI received information about strikeforce activity involving firearms and drugs in Potter County.
He also has stated at each of the three guilty pleas those involved were warned they were participating in criminal activity and were free to walk away.
Baird remains detained pending sentencing.