Exclusive: Arrests made in '04 bombing of Scottsdale diversity office

By Nick R. Martin | June 25th, 2009 | 12:49 pm | 7 Comments »

Two brothers, one of them a neo-Nazi with ties to Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, were arrested Thursday in a federal raid at their rural Illinois home on suspicion of carrying out the 2004 mail bombing of Scottsdale’s diversity office, Heat City has learned.

Dennis Mahon, a longtime white supremacist organizer, and Daniel Mahon were taken into custody by federal agents outside of Rockford, Ill., after authorities were able to link to them to the bombing that injured Scottsdale’s diversity director and two other city employees more than five years ago.

The men were charged by a federal grand jury with three counts related to the bombing and other conspiracies.

It was not immediately clear what evidence linked the two men to the attack. Last year, however, federal agents revealed that tiny bits of DNA had been recovered from the bomb fragments and were analyzed using a test that was previously unavailable to law enforcement.

While little is known about Daniel Mahon, his brother has extensivly documented ties to radical groups and extremists.

Perhaps most significant for investigators in the Scottsdale case is Dennis Mahon’s involvement just weeks before the bombing in a propaganda-fueled white supremacist event called Aryanfest that was held in the Phoenix area.

The Phoenix New Times published a cover story on Feb. 19 of that year, extensively documenting the event, which had taken place just two weeks prior. In it, Mahon bragged about his connections to McVeigh, the bomber of Oklahoma City’s Alfred P. Murrah federal building in 1995.

Conspiracy theorists for years had said Mahon may have helped McVeigh carry out the attack that killed nearly 170 people. According to the story, Mahon did little to disabuse anyone of it that day.

“I knew Timothy McVeigh quite well,” he told a group of at the festival. “Let’s just say he and I did some serious business together. And after Oklahoma City, the feds came after me big-time, boy, but they never proved a thing.”

On Feb. 26, seven days after the story ran, a package arrived at the desk of Scottsdale Diversity Director Don Logan with a return address in the Phoenix area. It exploded in Logan’s hands when he opened it, sending shrapnel everywhere.

Logan had to undergo extensive surgery to repair damage to his hands and arms. His secretary, Renita Linyard, was also sent to the hospital for injuries to her face and eyes. A third city employee, Jacque Bell, was also injured and treated on site.

Federal investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as the US Postal Inspection Service, were called in to help Scottsdale investigate the attack. There was little to no information released to the public at the time about who may have sent the bomb or why.

Years went by and the investigation appeared to have stalled. But then last year, ATF officials said they had a break in the case with the discovery of new technique that could analyze DNA samples as small as just a few human cells.

Agents executed search warrants in early 2008 to collect blood and saliva samples from their prime suspects, whom they would not name.

The theory was that the bombers may have touched the explosives and left very small amounts of DNA behind.

Logan called the news “encouraging” last year. “All that I can say to you is I look forward to the day that they make an arrest,” he said.

Logan could not immediately be located for comment Thursday.

Scottsdale spokesman Pat Dodds said he was unable to comment on the specifics of the case, but added: “I can state the obvious and tell you that the 2004 bombing was a traumatic event for the city, and there continues to be a great deal of interest in the case.”

Radical ties for suspect

Dennis Mahon has been an active member of radical and racist groups since at least the early 1990s, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups throughout the US.

“He was a big time organizer,” said Heidi Beirich, the center’s director of research. He was a member of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan before becoming associated with a group called the White Aryan Resistance, or WAR, Beirich said.

WAR’s website promotes a “lone wolf” lifestyle or a “leaderless resistance.” The site includes slogans such as, “Tolerance is suicide. Diversity is death,” and it declared June “James von Brunn Month” in honor of the white supremacist accused of recently killing a security guard inside the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

An undated article on the site carrying Dennis Mahon’s byline promotes the so-called “White Resistance” over other similar hate movements. “It could be the difference between burnout and inspiration, or failure and victory for an individual,” the article says.

The New Times article published just before the Scottsdale bombing wasn’t the first time Mahon had talked openly about his connections to the Oklahoma City bombing.

In 2001, he told the UK Guardian newspaper that US authorities had investigated him for his connections to McVeigh.

“Thousands think I was involved,” Mahon told the newspaper. “I’ve started to believe it myself. Maybe I was there.”

But Beirich said it’s unclear what his actual role was in the events surrounding the attack. “There were so many conspiracies around Oklahoma City,” she said. “The truth is that, as far as I know, nothing panned out in court.”

Investigation expanding?

Federal investigators on Thursday also raided the Warsaw, Ind. home of Tom Metzger, the national leader of WAR, according to the town’s Times-Union newspaper.

“Metzger wasn’t arrested as of this morning, and police said they didn’t believe he would be arrested,” the story says.

It is unclear whether Metzger is also being investigated in connection to the Scottsdale bombing or if the search is even related. The 2004 New Times article also said Metzger had attended the Aryanfest event in the Phoenix valley. According to the New Times, he wore a shirt that read: “Some People Are Alive Simply Because It’s Illegal To Kill Them.”

Though law enforcement officials were making no public comments Thursday on the case, the US Attorney’s Office in Phoenix announced it will hold a news conference Friday morning to reveal “a major development” in it. High-ranking officials from the attorney’s office, ATF, the Postal Inspections Service and Scottsdale police are on the list of attendees.