He planned to blow up a synagogue Friday night. Instead, he went to jail.

Going Undercover

A 27-year-old white supremacist named Richard Holzer planned to bomb Colorado's historic Temple Emanuel synagogue Friday night.

Instead, Holzer spent the evening in jail on charges that could land him in prison for up to 20 years — all because he attempted to source explosives from undercover FBI agents he met through Facebook.

Nazi Propaganda

According to an affidavit filed in a federal court on Saturday, an undercover FBI agent contacted Holzer via Facebook in September after the agency noticed him using the site to "promote white supremacy ideology and acts of violence" in direct messages and group chats.

Holzer used Facebook to send the agent numerous videos and photos of himself with Nazi propaganda. He even told the agent he'd paid a Mexican man $70 in October 2018 to "hex and poison a local Synagogue."

Friends in Low Places

The agent introduced Holzer to another undercover FBI agent, who met with the white supremacist, his friend "Skeeter," and two other undercover FBI agents in October. At that time, Holzer said he wanted to attack the local synagogue again, this time with explosives, which the agents offered to source.

When they all met up again at a hotel on the evening of the planned attack, the undercover agents showed Holzer the explosives — which were actually inert. They then arrested him, and he confessed to attempting to blow up the synagogue — the whole thing providing a welcome example of Facebook being used to stop hate rather than help it spread.

READ MORE: FBI arrests self-proclaimed white supremacist in alleged plot to blow up historic synagogue [The Washington Post]

More on hate speech: Facebook Needs Humans *and* Algorithms to Filter Hate Speech

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