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The police in a small New Jersey town called a 25-year-old man into their headquarters in June after they began investigating a report that he had sent a photo of his ex-girlfriend wearing parts of a Nazi uniform to her employer, officials said.
After he arrived, the police said they discovered that the man, Michael V. Zaremski, was carrying a loaded handgun in his jacket. Concerned, officers were sent that same day to search his home, where they found a cache of assault-style rifles, ammunition and a trove of white-supremacist paraphernalia, literature and images, officials said.
Mr. Zaremski was arrested by the Franklin Borough police and eventually indicted on 39 separate criminal counts in August, according to the Sussex County prosecutor’s office.
His case, the second involving stockpiled weapons and Nazi paraphernalia in Sussex in two months, highlighted how a resurgent white supremacist threat associated with violent and deadly incidents has taken root in communities across the United States.
“Every county in the country has to be concerned about this — every jurisdiction,” said Greg Mueller, an assistant prosecutor in Sussex County.
Mr. Zaremski was being held in the Sussex County jail without bail. If convicted of all charges — which include harassment of his ex-girlfriend and multiple counts of illegally possessing firearms and unlawfully manufacturing them — he faces up to 179 years in prison, the police said.
New Jersey’s bias intimidation law allowed prosecutors to charge Mr. Zaremski with targeting a particular group.
Mr. Zaremski’s lawyer, Evan F. Nappen, said that his firm would “vigorously defend” Mr. Zaremski. Mr. Nappen said his client will plead not guilty to all charges.
In the indictment, prosecutors accused Mr. Zaremski of terrorizing his ex-girlfriend by holding a gun to the back of her head and calling her stupid, saying “women don’t know anything” and that “a woman’s place is to do what the man says.” On another occasion, prosecutors said, he assaulted her by obstructing her breathing.
But the police’s initial investigation was sparked by a separate incident while the two were dating, Mr. Mueller said. At some point during the relationship, Mr. Zaremski made the woman, whom officials have not identified, pose for a photograph while wearing a hat with a Nazi emblem, he said.
After an acrimonious breakup, Mr. Zaremski created a fake Instagram account under the woman’s name and posted pictures of her wearing Nazi apparel, Mr. Mueller said. He then sent one of the images to her employer.
The woman’s bosses, who were not identified, were Jewish, which led prosecutors to bring the bias intimidation charges.
“That act of sending a photograph to an employer that was known to be of a Jewish heritage and descent — our allegation is that was designed to be a threat,” Mr. Mueller said.
The police investigating the case found a massive amount of material related to white supremacist ideologies — much of it anti-Semitic in nature — on Mr. Zaremski’s phone and computer, Mr. Mueller said.
Investigators believed that Mr. Zaremski came to harbor white nationalist views, and that his beliefs were shaped by social media. They were still examining specific communities that he may have engaged with.
Mr. Zaremski posted numerous photos with the hashtag “kek,” an intentional misspelling of “LOL” used by the alt-right, on his Instagram account. He also posted photos referencing Pepe the Frog, the cartoon amphibian co-opted as a white nationalist mascot. Some of Mr. Zaremski’s Instagram posts included hashtags expressing support for President Trump.
He also used phrases explicitly associated with Nazi ideology, at one point referencing a speech given by Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister.
Investigators also found multiple references to “RWDS,” or “Right Wing Death Squad,” in photos on Mr. Zaremski’s phone. The phrase, a reference to far-right, fascist death squads that killed leftist activists in Latin America, is popular among white nationalists online.
Officials believed that Mr. Zaremski, who was an emergency medical technician, wore an “RWDS” emblem on his work jacket, Mr. Mueller said.
Among the weapons found at Mr. Zaremski’s home were six assault-style rifles that he had assembled or was assembling, as well as 15 high-capacity magazines loaded and ready for use, the police said.
According to the indictment, the handgun that the police in Franklin found on Mr. Zaremski also had no serial number, and he did not have a permit to carry it.
The indictment against Mr. Zaremski bore striking resemblance to another recent arrest in Sussex County, a community of 140,000 people in northwestern New Jersey.
In July, a man was arrested after the police found assault-style weapons, rifles with scopes and a grenade launcher, as well as drugs and a box of neo-Nazi bumper stickers and clothing in his van and at his house. The man, Joseph Rubino, was arrested on federal charges.
Mr. Zaremski currently only faces state charges, and a spokesman for the United States attorney’s office in New Jersey would not comment on his case.
Mr. Mueller said he did not believe that the two incidents in Sussex were directly linked.