SAN DIEGO (CNS) — A San Diego-based Navy sailor was sentenced to 23 months in military confinement for advocating acts of violence against the military and law enforcement, officials announced Friday.
Court-martialed former Petty Officer 3rd Class James Charles Hart was assigned to the USS Lake Erie, of which has its homeport in San Diego.
Hart was stripped of his ranks and dishonorably discharged Thursday after pleading guilty to promoting supremacist and extreme doctrine, illegally possessing a firearm/ammunition on base, larceny and illegally dealing in firearms, according to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
The NCIS and the San Diego FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force began investigating the sailor in January after receiving a tip that he had used his social media to advocate for acts of violence against the military and law enforcement. The agencies found posts calling for violence against Navy personnel and assets, and Hart’s expressed support for the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6 insurrection, according to an NCIS statement.
During a search of his barracks room, authorities retrieved a loaded handgun, ammunition and stolen gas masks. Authorities also found evidence that Hart illegally sold a firearm through a review of his phone, according to NCIS officials.’
“Petty Officer Hart betrayed his oath to the Navy and deserves to be held fully accountable for his hateful and criminal actions,” said Special Agent in Charge Joshua Flowers of the NCIS Southwest Field Office. “NCIS is dedicated to protecting Navy and Marine readiness from being degraded by criminal activity.”
Flowers added that the conviction “should serve as a warning,” and that the NCIS, FBI and partner agencies are dedicated to thorough investigations to any and all criminal threats against the Navy.
“Mr. Hart’s case is a prime example of the breadth and depth of the work done on the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces,” said Special Agent in Charge Suzanne Turner of the FBI’s San Diego office. “The FBI and our partner agencies will use all available investigative tools in all available venues to prosecute these crimes.”
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