PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - A Portland man who is currently in custody on child pornography charges has been publicly expelled from the National Socialist Club, a white nationalist extremist group.
Andrew Hazelton was named and expelled on social media this week and the group said more thorough background checks would be instituted in the future, the Portland Press Herald reported.
Hazelton, 28, is being held in a New Hampshire jail on a federal charge of possessing child pornography.
During a Zoom hearing on Wednesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Wolff submitted an image of a flyer that was posted in Hazelton’s neighborhood read “Get to know your local Nazis!” the flyer included several allegations against him including that he was a member of NSC. Wolff also submitted an interview summary by federal agents with Hazelton’s former employer and co-workers, who said Hazelton had become despondent and suicidal between November and December 2020.
Public defender David Beneman argued in a Zoom hearing that Hazelton has strong ties to the community and his family who would support him. Hazelton’s family was present for the Zoom hearing, however, his mother, Susan Hazelton, hung up on a Herald reported when reached at her home Wednesday morning.
Beneman did not return a call seeking comment after the hearing.
Carla Hill, an associate director at the Center on Extremism for the Anti-Defamation League, tracks the group, also known as NSC-131, and told the newspaper it has recently established a presence in Maine. The “131” stands for ACA, for Anti-Communist Action, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
NSC is a small offshoot of the wider world of white supremacist groups and has approximately two dozen members in New England, Hill said.
“They formed in early 2020, and are a very small group of folks, kind of outcasts of groups like Patriot Front and other groups that had fallen apart,” Hill said.
NSC is largely a propaganda organization that uses tactics including racist literature campaigns and so-called “banner drops,” where members display a message from a highway overpass.
“Unlike some of those other groups who wrap white supremacy in more palatable political garb, NSC makes their white supremacy obvious,” Hill said.
“They’re kind of focused on a turf angle, they mark it as theirs like any street gang,” she said. “It’s a sort of crude version of white supremacy.”
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