A former Fort Drum soldier with possible connections to a militia pleaded guilty on Monday to a weapons charge after acknowledging he had a “ghost gun” at a Black Lives Matter protest last June in Troy.
Noah Latham, 23, of Leominister, Mass., pleaded guilty in a Rensselaer County courtroom on Monday to second-degree attempted criminal possession of a weapon.
He was part of a group of seven other men at the June 7 rally, all dressed in military-style body armor and wearing bullet-proof vests. Some were carrying loaded firearms and two-way radios. His gun was among the loaded weapons, a court official said.
Authorities found propaganda from the New England Militia inside his car, but they were never able to tie the printed material to him, Assistant District Attorney Matthew Hauf said.
According to a plea bargain, the ex-soldier, who was a specialist when he was assigned to Fort Drum, will be sentenced to time served and five years probation, the court official said. He will be sentenced on May 25.
The Rensselaer County District Attorney’s Office had accused Mr. Latham of possessing a “ghost gun” on his waistband, which is a firearm often sent to buyers partially assembled for the buyer to acquire the parts to finish building it. His 9 mm Glock-style pistol, which was loaded with live 9 mm ammunition, had no serial number.
Last August, the former Fort Drum soldier left the Army. Mr. Latham was “separated administratively” from the Army, a Fort Drum official said last summer. That means Mr. Latham’s departure was not punitive in nature and not the result of a court martial.
The rally, attended in Troy by 11,000 people to protest the police-shooting death of George Floyd last year, was peaceful. While it remains unclear why they were at the protest, Mr. Latham met up with four other men from the Capitol region at the rally and might have been connected to the militia. Those four men previously pleaded guilty to lesser charges.
Mr. Floyd’s death sparked civil rights protests around the country.
The trial of a former Minneapolis police officer charged in Mr. Floyd’s death is in its third day.
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