Suspected neo-Nazi arrested over planning terror attack in Australia

Police searched two properties over the weekend in relation to an alleged terror plot. CREDIT:NSW POLICE

Police searched two properties over the weekend 
in relation to an alleged terror plot. CREDIT:NSW POLICE
A South Coast man who had neo-Nazi interests has been charged with a terrorism offence after allegedly planning to attack an electrical substation.

On Saturday, Joshua Lucas, 21, from Sanctuary Point, was arrested and charged with one count of preparing or planning a terrorist act. The offence carries a maximum penalty of life in jail.

Police will allege Mr Lucas attempted and planned to buy or acquire military equipment, including firearms and items capable of making improvised explosive devices.

Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Scott Lee outlined the allegations against Mr Lucas at a press conference. He said while Mr Lucas had not made any moves to "finalise an attack plan", his behaviour in the past week had led police to act. "We felt we needed to move when we did to ensure that no attack occurred," he said.

Mr Lee said it was believed Mr Lucas had been considering a number of plots, including using an improvised explosive device to disrupt an electrical substation on the South Coast.

"That would have had an impact on the distribution of electricity in the coastal area," he said.

The anniversary of the Christchurch terror attack was one factor in the 21-year-old's arrest, but Mr Lee said there was no information that anything would have occurred on March 15.

"Obviously the upcoming anniversary, the ideology and the alignment of that ideology to Christchurch was one of the factors that we took into account as to when we went over when we did," Mr Lee said.

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Walton said Mr Lucas was unemployed, was not well-known to police and lived at home with his family.

"This person had anti-government sentiment, he was anti-Semitic, he has neo-Nazi interests and he has anti-Indigenous interests," he said. "Unfortunately, he has evolved with an ideology that is one of hate against a lot of different groups."

Mr Walton said Mr Lucas had been in contact with various groups online and police were searching multiple properties along the South Coast to determine if the man had any real-world associates.

"It's fair to say that the online environment is a Petri dish of hate in our community," he said.

Police began investigating Mr Lucas in February after they became aware of a number of online posts containing an extreme political and anti-government ideology.

On Saturday, police searched properties and vehicles in Sanctuary Point and Parma – both near the NSW South Coast town of Nowra. A number of electronic devices and three soft paintball firearms were seized at the Sanctuary Point property. Meanwhile, four registered firearms were seized at the Parma residence, which police allege is the home of an associate of Mr Lucas.

Investigations into the matter continue with international agencies also assisting.

Mr Lucas appeared at Nowra Local Court on Monday where he was refused bail. Police will apply to have the matter heard in a Sydney court at a later date.
Source: WA Today