The FBI has apprehended a transgender woman who was allegedly planning violence against Jews and Black individuals.
The individual is also accused of targeting co-workers with transphobic sentiments, using Nazi imagery, and amassing a stockpile of guns and ammunition.
The FBI has detained a 56-year-old transgender woman, Elizabeth Ballesteros West, residing in Cottage Grove, Oregon.
West, diagnosed with bipolar disorder, was discovered in possession of a significant number of firearms.
Currently held at the Lane County Jail, West is under investigation for online threats to harm or kill Jews and Black individuals, sharing content related to a mass shooting, displaying a Nazi flag, and threatening “transphobic” co-workers.
The confiscated items include 16 rifles, 11 handguns, tens of thousands of ammunition rounds, gun accessories, 48 drawings, and a composition notebook titled “black shadow journal.”
In late September, federal agents were alerted to a Facebook post on a transgender women’s support group page by Elizabeth Ballesteros West.
The post conveyed distress, citing bullying by “transphobic” co-workers, and depicted two guns. West expressed feeling pushed to a breaking point, stating she might resort to drastic measures, adding that she would “have to go out in a blaze of glory” and praying for forgiveness from the gods.
A subsequent investigation unveiled additional violent rhetoric posted on X (formerly Twitter) in December, expressing hatred toward Jews, Black people, and immigrants, accompanied by images of a Nazi flag and firearms, as outlined in a federal affidavit.
The posts made by Elizabeth Ballesteros West reference white supremacist tropes and express pride in how Nazis “herded” Jewish people into gas chambers during the Holocaust.
FBI agents have engaged with West on at least three occasions since October.
According to the affidavit, West has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, dissociative disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. On Tuesday, the FBI executed warrants to search West’s home and car.
In her car, a pistol was discovered, and authorities seized 11 handguns, 16 rifles, firearm accessories, tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition, and a journal referred to as her “Black Shadow journal.”
The journal, spanning from 2008 to 2016, featured writings such as, “Blood, death, self-torture, self-hatred, wicked thoughts of mass murder at the gloved hands of the veil mistress,” according to the affidavit. Following West’s authorization, two FBI agents consulted her mental health providers, who expressed concerns that without mental health treatment and with access to firearms, West could pose a danger to herself and others.
She informed federal agents that she would not voluntarily surrender her firearms to the local sheriff’s office, asserting their necessity for protection in her rural area, as stated in the affidavit. Combining West’s initial Facebook post with her arsenal of weapons and ammunition at home, FBI agent Damara Gonzalez contended that this “constitutes an interstate threat.”
The agent emphasized West’s evident violent hostility toward specific minority groups, evident through her display of firearms, indicating a readiness to escalate her original threat of violence towards these groups.
Gonzalez, affiliated with the FBI’s Behavioral Threat Assessment Center since 2016, works with local law enforcement agencies and private entities to assess if an individual is on a “pathway to violence,” as detailed in the affidavit. In October, West legally changed her name from Wyona Wolf, according to court records. The affidavit’s details were first reported by Court Watch, a newsletter tracking federal court filings, on Saturday morning.
This is a developing story that will be updated when more information is available.