Ryan W. Miller - USA TODAY
Three more suspected neo-Nazis connected to a white nationalist group that reportedly planned to have members at a gun rights rally in Virginia have been arrested, authorities say.
Three Georgia men were arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit murder and participating in a criminal street gang as part of the hate group, The Base, according to the Floyd County Police Department.
News of the arrests come a day after three other suspected members of The Base were arrested in Maryland on firearms and alien-harboring charges.
The three Georgia men, identified as Luke Austin Lane of Floyd County, Michael Helterbrand of Dalton and Jacob Kaderli of Dacula, were planning to "overthrow the government and murder a Bartow County couple," Floyd County police said in a statement.
Lane, who was arrested near his home without incident Wednesday, and Kaderli are being housed in Floyd County, and Helterbrand is to arrive later Friday, police said. Lane was also denied bond Thursday.
It was not immediately clear if the Georgia men planned to attend the Virginia rally. Multiple media outlets reported Thursday that the men in Maryland planned to attend, and authorities moved on them in fears they might incite violence.
The string of arrests come as Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency ahead of Monday's gun rights rally and banned all weapons, including firearms, in the area around the state Capitol in Richmond.
A judge upheld Northam's ban Thursday, but rally organizers are seeking an appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court. It was not clear when the court would hear the appeal.
Attorney General Mark Herring wrote in a legal brief to the court Friday that Northam has the authority to issue the order for public safety and that it does not infringe on anyone's right to bear arms or First Amendment rights.
Northam declared the state of emergency after he says law enforcement received multiple credible threats of violence by militias and extremists groups planning to attend the rally Monday.
Fearing violence similar to that of Charlottesville, where a woman was killed when a neo-Nazi rammed his car into a crowd in 2017, Northam issued the temporary ban on weapons through Tuesday.
"They're not coming to peacefully protest. They are coming to intimidate and cause harm," Northam said at a news conference earlier this week.
"No one wants another incident like the one we saw at Charlottesville in 2017. We will not allow that mayhem and violence to happen here," he added.
The Virginia Citizens Defense League, the group organizing the rally and challenging Northam in court alongside Gun Owners of America, has said the event is still on. The group planned the "lobby day" to try to sway state legislators not to pass a host of gun control measures that Democrats have promised after taking control of state government in November.
Following the election, more than 100 localities in Virginia declared themselves "sanctuaries" for the Second Amendment, saying they wouldn't enforce unconstitutional laws. Legal experts and Herring have said those resolutions hold no legal weight as local law does not supersede state law.
However, as momentum grew with the sanctuary resolutions and planning of the lobby day, the movement spilled across state lines and onto pro-gun social media, sparking interest from groups outside of Virginia.
Groups identified as extremist organizations urged members to flock to Richmond on Monday, using fiery language of "tyrants" trying to seize arms and promising civil war.
Some of the militia groups that said they would attend the rally in Richmond are the same ones who attended the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, the Daily Beast reported.
The Base, the group of which the six men arrested this week allegedly are members, has been identified as a hate group committed to creating a white ethno-state. Police in Georgia say the group, founded around July 2018, seeks to "accelerate the downfall of the United States government, incite a race war and establish a white ethno-state."
One of the men arrested in Maryland, Patrik Jordan Mathews, 27, is a former Canadian Armed Forces reservist who was dismissed over ties to white supremacists; he allegedly entered the U.S. illegally in August.
According to an arrest affidavit, the Georgia men were arrested in connection with an undercover FBI operation during which an agent was accepted into the group and gained access to its encrypted online messaging applications.
The three men allegedly planned to murder a couple they believed to members of Antifa, the anti-fascist group. According to an arrest affidavit, Lane spearheaded the plot to kill the couple with the help of Kaderli and Helterbrand, however, the operation was delayed, in part because Helterbrand said he had a bad back.
On at least two occasions, the men along with the undercover agent drove to the couple's house to scope it out, the affidavit says. They also discussed burning the house down after the hit, the affidavit says.
At one point in the planning, the men discussed what would happen if their victims had children. Lane told Helterbrand they would "probably just leave them," but Helterbrand said he'd have "no problem killing a commie kid," the affidavit says.
The men allegedly settled on a February date to commit the murders. Lane also identified future targets who were members of television media, the affidavit says.
Lane also allegedly said he wanted to kill other members of The Base who knew about the plot and whom he feared would discuss it. According to the affidavit, a member of The Base in Maryland and one who had recently entered the United State illegally were his targets, however, those members were not named.
The affidavit describes the group as operating with regional cells for security purposes.
In Maryland, prosecutors said at a court hearing Wednesday that one of the men compared The Base to al-Qaida and discussed traveling to Ukraine to fight alongside "nationalists."
Prosecutors say Brian Mark Lemley Jr., 33, and William Garfield Bilbrough IV, 19, traveled to Michigan last year to pick up Mathews. The men have allegedly operated in Maryland and Delaware since, building an assault rifle, amassing ammo and trying to make DMT, a hallucinogenic drug, as they discussed The Base's activities.
The New York Times reported that The Base has become a growing concern for the FBI as the group recruits more people.
Contribtuing: The Associated Press. Follow USA TODAY's Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller