Alejandro Velasquez, an activist associated with white supremacist leader Nick Fuentes’ far-right “Groyper” movement pleaded guilty on May 16 to a charge of making a “threatening communication” directed at a conference held by the group Turning Point USA. Velasquez, a 19-year-old Texas man who was known by the online alias “LatinoZoomer,” had written a post on Instagram featuring a gun emoji and declaring the start of the conference would be a “day of retribution.”
According to court documents, Velasquez was arrested on Aug. 11, 2022. A federal criminal complaint filed that day described the Instagram post, which he made on July 18 of that year and apparently referred to TPUSA’s Student Action Summit that was due to start on July 22.
“Hi LatinoZoomer here,” Velasquez wrote. “July 22 is the day of retribution the day I will have revenge against all of humanity which all of you will pay for my suffering.”
“SAS will be the turning point of the LatinoZoomer lore,” he added.
Velasquez’s post included a gun emoji and a selfie taken inside a car. Investigators found Velasquez planned to attend the conference and that he had purchased a plane ticket to travel from Austin to Florida on July 22, which he canceled the night before the flight.
The criminal complaint, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, noted that Velasquez’s post seemed to borrow language and imagery from a deranged video posted by Elliot Rodger before he launched a May 2014 attack near a college campus in southern California that left six people dead and many others injured. Rodger’s video was filled with misogynistic rhetoric associated with the “incel,” or “involuntarily celibate” movement, a community that has gained momentum online in recent years and been linked to multiple violent incidents. In the years since the shooting, Rodger has become something of a hero to the “incel” movement. Fuentes has recently described himself as a “post-trad neo-incel.”
Velasquez’s post was reported to the authorities, including local police in Tampa, who viewed it as a “credible threat.” In addition to one count of making an interstate threatening communication, Velasquez was charged with one count of “possession of child pornography.” Investigators allegedly found three images that featured “prepubescent” children and a “baby” in sexual contexts on Velasquez’s cell phone during the investigation into his post, according to the criminal complaint.
The court docket shows Velasquez only pleaded guilty to the charge related to his post, which indicates the child pornography charges may have been dismissed as part of his plea agreement. Federal prosecutors and Velasquez’s attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment from TPM.
Velasquez’s arrest came against the backdrop of ongoing feuding between Fuentes, who has openly praised Hitler and made extensive extremist comments deriding Jews and other minority groups, and more mainstream far right groups including the Conservative Political Action Conference and TPUSA. Fuentes and his followers, who have staged dramatic interruptions at events held by these other groups, have dubbed the conflict the “Groyper Wars.” That name refers to a variation of the “Pepe” cartoon frog meme known as “Groyper,” a name which members of Fuentes’ “America First” movement have adopted as their own moniker. Fuentes’ open racism, anti-Semitism, and opposition to more established conservative organizations has not stopped him from making headway with Republican politicians. Last November, Fuentes dined with former President Donald Trump, alongside Kanye West, in Florida. Earlier this month, TPM reported on the extensive links between Fuentes and Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), including a member of the congressman’s staff who appears to be a prominent Groyper.
Velasquez discussed his case in a jailhouse interview with the far right streamer “CastizoPilled” last year. In that conversation, Velasquez told the masked interviewer that he meant the post as a joke.
“It’s, like, a certain type of humor, you know?” Velasquez said. “It’s not for everyone. My original intent with the post was to make an Elliot Rodger joke, like making fun of like the violence of him.:
“TPUSA and the FBI got hold of the post and took it as a threat even though I don’t think anyone that understands me would take it as a threat,” Velasquez added.
Velasquez said he abandoned plans to travel to the conference, which was attended by Trump, because, in the wake of the post, TPUSA canceled his ticket and room in the conference’s official hotel. When asked if he had any regrets, Velasquez indicated he wished he had been able to travel to the event.
“I kind of do, but at the same time, I don’t like the feds, so I don’t want to comply with them,” said Velasquez. “I feel like I should have posted something afterwards. I should have went to Tampa first and then got arrested. I think that would have been way better for me.”
During that interview, Velasquez also addressed the child pornography allegations. He claimed the images on his phone were captured when other activists staged a “raid” on his social media pages and attempted to fill them with objectionable content.
“It’s like unsolicited things that I don’t have any interest [in],” Velasquez said of the images. “They found nothing else, just those three. … They’re disgusting honestly.”
After news broke about the arrest, Fuentes published an Aug. 19, 2022 post on Telegram, an encrypted app popular with the far right, in which he distanced himself from Velasquez.
“For the record, Alejandro Velasquez had nothing to do with me or America First. As far as I’m aware he attended CPAC Dallas last year where I briefly made an appearance,” Fuentes said. “Claims on social media that he was part of our team in any way are completely untrue. Censorship, debanking, and blacklisting didn’t work so now they lie.”
In the interview with CastizoPilled, Velasquez also rejected claims made in some coverage of his case that he played a major leadership role in America First. However, he also pushed back on Fuentes’ attempt to disassociate from him. Velasquez cited instances where he met and was photographed with Fuentes, including that 2021 CPAC conference where he stood alongside the white supremacist leader as a small group of “Groypers” marched through the venue where the event was taking place.
“I understand where it came from — like, there’s a lot of pressure,” Velasquez said of Fuentes’ post disavowing him. “But honestly the whole message itself is like a Jewish corporate statement. Obviously, you know who I am. You know exactly who I am and you met me.”
According to the court docket, Velasquez is set to be sentenced on August 23.
Read the criminal complaint: