(NewsNation) — The leaders of an extremist group known as Black Hammer, which purportedly has ties to Russian intelligence groups, have been arrested and are under investigation by the FBI.
An unsealed federal indictment accuses the group’s leader, Augustus Romain Jr., also known as “Gazi Kodzo” of taking money from Russian national Aleksandr Ionov.
Black Hammer is accused of staging protests in March outside the headquarters of Meta, the parent company of Facebook, after the company placed restrictions on content supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to the indictment. This all allegedly happened under the direction of Ionov.
Ionov leads the anti-globalization movement inside Russia and claims in the indictment to be an officer in the Russian counterintelligence agency FSB.
The charges against Romain and his lieutenant, Xavier “Keno” Rushin, include kidnapping, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, conspiracy to commit a felony and taking part in street gang activity.
The pair also allegedly tried to harm homeless people and turn them into a de facto security force. It is also alleged that Romain forced some group members into sexual acts in order to advance within the group, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.