A member of the North Georgia White Knights has been sentenced to 170 months for constructing pipe bombs and selling them to an undercover agent, intending that the bombs were to be used to destroy buses carrying migrant workers,
Daniel James Schertz, 27, was sentenced by Judge Curtis Collier.
Schertz had previously pleaded guilty to six felony counts including building and possessing destructive devices, transferring those destructive devices, teaching another person how to build destructive
devices, possession of a firearm while subject to a domestic violence restraining order and transferring explosive materials intending that they would be used to commit a crime of violence.
At the time of his guilty plea, Schertz admitted that he encountered an undercover informant while working security for the North Georgia White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan at a Klan rally in Dunlap.
Authorities said he instructed the informant along with undercover agents on how to build pipe bombs and how to place them on vehicles in such a way as to cause the most destruction.
Schertz further admitted that he believed and intended that the
pipe bombs he constructed were to be detonated on a bus carrying Mexican workers traveling to work in Florida.
U.S. Attorney Sandy Mattice said, "This case reflects the Department of Justice’s continuing commitment to preempt acts of terrorism and a continuing focus on domestic terrorist organizations."
Prosecutor James Brooks said, "I have struggled for words how to describe this case."
He said Schertz "was driven by just pure hatred. There's no excuse for why he made the decision he did."
Schertz apologized to his wife, sister and parents, who were in the courtroom.
He said, "I want to say I am sorry to my family. I will be able to not go back to the way I was when I first did this."
Judge Collier, who is black, said he would "not take into account at all" the fact that Schertz is a member of the KKK.
He said he had First Amendment rights, even though his views may be hateful to many.
But he said society is facing "a tremendous problem with people who use bombs to kill people in buildings, vehicles, subways and on city streets." He said innocent people are usually the victims.