A local man listed as a leader of the white supremacist organization Aryan Nations, is in the Washoe County Jail tonight on charges of making violent threats against a number of people and organizations in Northern California and Nevada.
Reno Police describe 40-year-old Steven Holten as a "one-man Aryan Nation...who has been trying to recruit members in the area."
Holten has been on the radar screen of local police for more than a year.
And national organizations that watch hate groups are also familiar with him. Except for the occasional case of vandalism or pamphleteering we don't hear a lot about these people, but they bear watching.
It was also not the first time Holten had sent threatening letters. Reno Police Lit. Ron Donnelly says they've been sent before to local organizations like the NAACP. Those incidents were investigated but.....
But whoever sent this latest e-mail crossed a line...literally.
The e-mail was sent to a number of organizations representing Jews, minorities, homosexuals, federal and local law enforcement officials drug dealers ....and members of the media.
It included a rant against the Reno Gazette Journal for failing to list Aryan Nations events in its community calendar and declining to print at memorial to Aryan Nations founder Richard Butler.
The e-mail was traced to Holten. The Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama says Holten attended the latest World Congress of the Aryan Nations in Hayden Lake, Idaho and is a longtime active recruiter for the organization.
The center says the organization has about 200 hard core members nationwide in 17 chapters.
The organization's website lists Holten as Nevada's chapter leader.
Locally, Donnelly says the organization has maybe 30 followers.
Other hate organizations and skinhead groups may raise the local total to 100.
History would say threats from any of them should not be ignored....and one doesn't have to point to the Oklahoma bombing to make that point.
In 1988, Tony Montgomery was gunned down in northeast Reno. Three local skinheads were convicted of his murder. It was a random killing. The teenagers just set out that night to kill an African American.
Holten is the first person to be arrested in Reno for sending violent hate threats. He faces up to 5 years in prison if convicted.