A New Jersey man on trial for his ties to a white supremicist group has been deemed too dangerous for bail.
Former Philadelphia Navy yard worker Fred C. Arena, 41, has operated social media accounts flooded with right-wing memes, and images of him with knives and guns. A current resident of Salem, New Jersey, Arena was in federal court Wednesday, two weeks after he was charged with lying to the FBI to about his ties to a white nationalist group.
U.S. Magistrate Judge David R. Strawbridge decided to detain Arena without bail until trial, according to Inqurier.com. The judge credited the prosecutor’s depiction of Arena as a danger to the community and potential witnesses in his case.
Arena’s attorney, Brian J. Zeiger, accused government lawyers of seeking jail time for his client strictly on his distasteful beliefs. Zeiger also argued that lying to feds was not serious enough to warrant pretrial detention.
Arena has no criminal record and has never been charged with a crime prior to being charged with repeatedly lying about his membership in the white nationalist group, “Vanguard America.”
His membership was discovered by an alternative media site, Unicorn Riot. They identified him based on a pseudonymous post in white supremacist chat rooms. The FBI interviewed him within days but he allegedly denied his membership and his association with that group.
Inqurier.com reports that Arena lied on an application for national security clearance, which was submitted in January for part of his job at a government contractor for the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility within the Navy Yard.
Arena has reportedly denied the allegation. There are currently no claims of violence relating to the charges. Federal sentencing guidelines suggest that if convicted, he will be in prison for less than a year. However, Inquirer.com reports that the court is likely to exceed that.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph A. LaBar showed several of social media posts that reinforced his belief that Arena posed a threat to government witnesses.
It was reported that online, Arena made threats to two former romantic partners, saying he would sever parts of the women’s body and store them in a jar. Additionally, he also said he would eat a woman alive and slit her throat.
Arena was allegedly obsessed with anyone he thought would feed information about him to the FBI, including going to a former acquaintance’s home and taking a selfie with a knife near the town sign. He allegedly stated that “We drove [him] so crazy, he was ready to kill himself” about the informant, he also invited others to harass him.
“How do we decide what an individual’s intentions are?” LaBar asked on Wednesday, adding, “We look to his past actions and his past statements. And I think these statements show an intent to intimidate witnesses.”
Arena is currently in the federal detention center in Philly since FBI agents arrested him in a hotel room, where he was renting housing. Strawbridge also not that Arena has no fixed address.
It was reported that his family refused to allow him to live with them when he was fired from the Navy Yard last week.
As of Wednesdays there was no trial date set for his case.