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Navy vet with history of promoting Nazi, white supremacist ideas charged with possession of machine gun; Feds say he pledged to commit hate crime

A U.S. Navy veteran with a history of promoting neo-Nazi and white supremacist ideas is being held for a psychiatric evaluation after police say he promised to commit a hate crime and had access to a machine gun.

Federal Magistrate Judge Joseph F. Saporito Jr. ordered 21-year-old John Jacob “Jake” Hasay of Benton, Pennsylvania, committed to a psychiatric facility at the crisis unit at the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital in Pennsylvania for a mental health screening.

“The offense with which the defendant is charged, while not a crime of violence or narcotic drugs, has the potential for violence based on statements made by defendant through social media or letters,” Saporito wrote in his order of detention.

Hasay served at Naval Station Great Lakes north of Chicago, the Navy’s only boot camp and the largest training station that branch of the service uses. Hasay faces federal charges of possession of a firearm and an unregistered National Firearms Act weapon. Federal authorities arrested him Aug. 22 in Hunlock Creek, Pennsylvania, about 15 miles west of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Hasay has not entered a formal plea to the charges.

Parts of Hasay’s case remain under seal, including a search warrant and detailed criminal complaint which would outline the allegations leading to his arrest, making it unclear what led federal authorities to focus on Hasay. What has been released publicly alleges that in 2017 and 2018, Hasay had a machine gun and other illegally modified weapons.

In court records, federal prosecutors said Hasay had a “written promise to commit a hate crime, ready access to illegally modified firearms and black-market firearm component dealers and reoccurring advancements of Nazi and white supremacist related ideologies.”

But the motion to send Hasay for a psychiatric evaluation doesn’t give more details about those allegations.

Hasay’s attorney, Al Flora Jr., did not deny the allegations in a motion to have Hasay committed.

Saporito ordered Hasay on Sept. 13 to undergo a preliminary mental exam and, if further commitment isn’t warranted, to return to the Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, jail in Scranton.

“I find the defendant presents a danger to both himself and any other person or the community if he is released at this time,” Saporito wrote.

Hasay’s LinkedIn page lists him as a “Navy veteran” who was enlisted from April through June of this year and discharged because of a spinal injury sustained during training. Hasay attained the rank of Yeoman First Class.

The online resume also lists “Secret Security Clearance” under special skills. That level of security clearance gives a person access to classified information and restricted areas after a background check has been completed.

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