European and American law enforcement agencies have teamed up to arrest an individual suspected of spreading hate speech and information about making homemade weapons.
The unnamed man is believed to be a member of the far-right movement known as Siege, which operates both online and offline.
In addition to spreading hate speech, the man is suspected of engaging in terrorist activities.
“The suspect allegedly issued instructions and diagrams for the manufacture of improvised edged weapons, automatic firearms, homemade explosives and mines, and instructions for sabotage attacks,” explained Europol.
“The instructions include the domestic production of automatic firearms made in combination with 3D printable parts and homemade metal parts.”
The suspect was arrested after an investigation by the Slovak National Agency against Crime and the Slovak Military Intelligence Service, supported by the Czech National Agency against Organized Crime.
Europol contributed to the exchange of information, operational analysis and technical assistance for the analysis of seized electronic devices. The FBI also reportedly backed the operation.
Searches took place on May 11 in Slovakia and May 23 in the Czech Republic, during which police seized a “very sophisticated” 3D printer and electronic devices, both of which are currently being examined as part of the investigation.
A day of action for referrals to Europol at the start of the year led to 563 reports of terrorist content to service providers. While takedowns of such content are currently voluntary and considered by platform providers on a case-by-case basis, new European laws will soon give authorities the power to require their takedown.
Additionally, earlier this year, a 19-year-old Londoner was sentenced to 42 months in prison for sharing a bomb-making manual on social media.
At the time, Richard Smith, head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, warned that young people, in particular, were being drawn to extremist ideologies online, with some committing serious terrorism offences.