Leaked online chats suggest a man arrested last month on weapons charges belonged to a hate group that seeks “ethnostate rape gangs” in their ideal, all-white fascist state.
Jakub Zak, 19, was arrested in Illinois last month after a tipster warned the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that Zak was interested in guns and had been seen wearing a shirt promoting the neo-Nazi group Patriot Front on the campus of his community college. The tip led police to Zak’s home, where they found Zak possessed five guns without a license, in violation of Illinois law. Zak bonded out of jail shortly after his arrest. He has been charged with two misdemeanor offenses, which carry a maximum two years in prison.
Leaked chats also appear to link Zak to Patriot Front, a group whose members have boasted of stockpiling weapons to use against opponents.
An openly racist and anti-Semitic group, Patriot Front originated from Vanguard America, a neo-Nazi group that gained national attention after the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last year. James Fields Jr., a man who allegedly drove a car into a crowd of anti-racist protesters at the rally, was seen marching with Vanguard America. Patriot Front’s members split from Vanguard America later that month.
In leaked audio chats, Patriot Front members openly talk of their ideal, all-white fascist state, in which “ethnostate rape gangs” would allow them to rape freely. Members also advocated violence against black people and mocked the death of Heather Heyer, the young woman murdered at a white supremacist rally last August.
The April 7 tip came weeks after the media collective Unicorn Riot published Patriot Front’s leaked chat logs. In the logs, a user name “Hussar” described himself as living in the same Illinois county as Zak, where, like Zak, he lived with his parents, a similarity previously highlighted by activist Emily Gorcenski. “Hussar” made threats against a judge and posted pictures of anti-Semitic flyers he claimed to have placed outside a preschool for Jewish girls. He posted a picture of a .40 caliber Glock pistol. In leaked audio logs, a Patriot Front member describes himself as owning the gun, plus four other semi-automatics: the same number of semi-automatics seized from Zak’s home.
Zak did not respond to requests for comment.
Patriot Front is light on membership; in leaked audio of a February chat, the group’s leader described it as having approximately 60 active members. Those members participated in text and audio conversations on the messaging app Discord. That’s where, in February, a Patriot Front member boasted of owning five guns.
“I have .40 cal Glock, a 9-millimeter glock, and then three AR-15s,” the member said in the chat. “And all of these are 80-percents,” he added, likely in reference to “80 percent lowers,” a kind of gun that ships to its owner partially assembled, to skirt some states’ gun purchase and registry laws.
By building their own gun rather than buying it in a store, 80-percenter owners might find it easier to avoid registering the weapon. Illinois law requires gun owners to obtain a Firearm Owner's Identification (FOID) card before buying guns. The state also requires minors under 21 to receive parental permission before applying for a FOID card. Zak, who faces misdemeanor charges for possessing guns and ammunition without a FOID card is 19.
The Glock appeared elsewhere in the chat in February, when Hussar posted a picture of it. “My babby,” he captioned the picture.
Hussar also appeared to threaten a Chicago judge who issued a light sentence for a black teen who pleaded guilty to a hate crime.
“I have something in the works for this wonderful judge,” Hussar wrote.
Elsewhere, he wrote that he lived close to Chicago, in Lake County, the same county where Zak lives.
Hussar also uploaded dozens of pictures of Patriot Front flyers he plastered around Lake County and surrounding areas. Some, which bear a Nazi slogan, were posted outside Jewish institutions, including a preschool for girls.
When other Patriot Front members said targeting preschools was bad for the group’s publicity, Hussar said he didn’t know the school was for young children, and that he and a fellow member had targeted the whole neighborhood because of its large Jewish population.
“We drove through it stopping whenever we saw anything Jewish,” he said.
Hussar also boasted of being in contact with the campaign of Arthur Jones, a neo-Nazi who recently won the Republican nomination in an uncontested congressional race in Chicago. Hussar claimed he knew Jones’ campaign manager personally, and that he planned to get dinner with him soon.
Contacted by phone on Thursday, Jones told The Daily Beast he had never heard of Zak, and that he was managing his own campaign after his campaign manager (who is not listed on FEC documents, and whom Jones declined to name) stepped down for personal reasons.
Previously, when discussing legal ways to post anti-semitic flyers, Hussar warned Patriot Front members to avoid jail time.
“Careful, a guy from [neo-Nazi group] atomwaffen got 2 years probation for this, here in Chicago.”