Two Adelaide men have been charged after an investigation into “ideologically motivated violent extremism” led to a bomb and extremist material allegedly being uncovered.
South Australia Police said they searched a number of metropolitan properties on Wednesday as part of their investigation into people associated with extremism.
They confirmed a Surrey Downs man, 28, was arrested and charged for allegedly possessing extremist material, as stated under section 37 of the Summary Offences Act (SA).
He was bailed to appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court in June.
A second man, a 32 year old man from Munno Para, was also arrested after he was allegedly possessed an improvised explosive device, instructions to manufacture explosives, and other weapons.
He was charged with section 83N of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act (SA) and was bailed to appear in the Elizabeth Magistrates Court in May.
SA Police said the investigation was ongoing.
“There has been no known threat to any person or the public,” police said in a statement.
Premier Steven Marshall said he received a briefing about the “concerning” arrests on Thursday morning.
“We see extremist views being expressed right around the world. We’re never going to be immune to it in SA,” he said.
“But I’m pleased we have units that exist within SAPOL that identify any concerns and take corrective action. That’s what’s happened.”
After the raids, Thomas Sewell, the leader of the Australian neo-Nazi group National Socialist Network, took to social media to claim the men arrested were part of his group.
In a video posted to Telegram, Mr Sewell said the raids were “not going to shake our morale – this only strengthens us”.
“We don’t lose anyone when these raids happen. All that happens is our morale is strengthened … our understanding of what is happening, that we are being persecuted for our political opinions … we’re not going to let this upset is, it’s not going to slow us down, it’s not going to stop our operations.”
Mr Sewell, of Rowville, also used the video to question whether what police had seized could be classified as extremist material.
“There’s no legal definition of what extremist material is,” he said. “It is not illegal to be a national socialist, it is not illegal to own Mein Kampf, it is not illegal to listen to Hitler speeches on Telegram – so what do these people mean when they say extremist material?”
“We’re not going anywhere. If anything, this only increases our fighting spirit, to struggle and strive for a free white nation that we control.”
Mr Sewell then began to say he would be up to see the “Adelaide boys”, before remembering he was on bail conditions.
He ended the video by saying: “Heil Hitler.”
A statement from the National Socialist Network claimed officers “smashed open the front door and detained the inhabitants at gunpoint” at about 5am.
The statement, shared by Mr Sewell, said at least 15 National Socialists in SA were simultaneously raided by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and SA counter-terrorism police and that at least seven properties were searched.
“The police had warrants to locate “extremist material”, and proceeded to seize electronic devices and search the homes of activists,” The statement read.
“It was the largest scale government action ever directed at our Australian National Socialist community.
“The federal involvement, the number of police, the number of people hit, and the vagueness of the warrants all suggests that they were on the hunt for material that they can use to make a case for having our organisations proscribed as terrorist groups.”
In the written statement, the National Socialist Network said the timing of the raids were “conveniently” before a Parliamentary Joint Committee inquiry into extremist movements and radicalism in Australia with the report due to be handed down to the Home Affairs Minister this month.
“The security services have a history of making highly publicised arrests prior to big announcements, as was clearly illustrated with the arrest of Tyler Jakovac last year,” he said.
Mr Sewell was charged with affray, recklessly cause injury and unlawful assault in early March after he allegedly assaulted a Channel 9 security guard.
The former Australian Defence Force soldier found himself in the national spotlight in January after he and his far-right group stormed a small town in the Grampians region in Victoria.