LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — After originally pleading not guilty back in September to a federal weapons charge, 23-year-old Conor Climo pleaded guilty as part of a new plea deal on Monday.
Climo is accused of plotting an attack against a synagogue, a bar that caters to LGBTQ customers and a McDonald’s location in Las Vegas.
The 23-year-old was accused of possession of unregistered destructive devices found at his home after he was arrested on Aug. 8, 2019.
Climo’s hearing to enter his new plea of guilty as part of a plea agreement was on Monday, Feb. 10, in U.S. District Court.
“Law enforcement’s swift action on this case, and today’s resulting guilty plea, is part of DOJ’s national strategy to disrupt and proactively stop potential bias-motivated mass violence,” said U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada. “The defendant’s threats of violence — which were motivated by hate and intended to intimidate or coerce our faith-based and LGBTQ communities — have no place in this country. We remain fully committed to working with our law enforcement partners to assess threats and intervene before mass violence can occur.”
According to a criminal complaint, Climo was communicating with individuals who identified with a white supremacist extremist organization using the National Socialist Movement to promote their ideology.
The organization encourages attacks on the federal government, including critical infrastructure, minorities and members of the LGBTQ community.
The complaint alleged that during encrypted online conversations throughout 2019, Climo would regularly use derogatory racial, anti-Semitic and homosexual slurs.
Climo admitted that, during online conversations between May 2019 and July 15, 2019, he discussed setting fire to a Las Vegas synagogue, and making Molotov cocktails and improvised explosive devices. He also said he conducted surveillance on a bar that he believed catered to the LGBTQ community, located on Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas, in preparation for a potential attack.
The criminal complaint also described items seized by law enforcement during an Aug. 8, 2019 search warrant, including a notebook with several hand-drawn schematics for a potential Las Vegas-area attack. The notebook contained drawings of timed explosive devises.
Climo is scheduled to be sentenced on May 14, 2020. Climo faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court.