Neo-Nazi Robert Rund was arrested in a Romanian gym after three years on the run
Leader of the bloodthirsty south California founded neo-Nazi group was finally apprehended in a Romanian gym, three years after he went on the run after being indicted on various charges, including assaulting a police officer.
Robert Rundo, 33, was arrested in Bucharest on March 29 by police special forces after a whistleblower approached the authorities.
Runda is the founder of a group called RAM, which stands for Rise Above Movement. In addition to their racist activities, its members are also passionate MMA practitioners. The group consists of 20 to 50 people.
Officials in Romania said that at the time of his arrest, Rundo was carrying documents identifying him as Robert Lazar Pavich. It is not known how long he was in the Eastern European country.
After the arrest, the US authorities sent an extradition request to their Romanian counterparts. Between 2016 and 2018, Rundo is believed to have been everywhere at various political events, often getting into physical confrontations with enemies and law enforcement.
Rise Above Movement founder Robert Rundo, 28, pictured at a Romanian gym shortly after being taken into custody
Rundo took a picture of himself being dragged out of a Romanian gym on Wednesday
Rundo’s hearing will take place on April 25. European authorities accuse him of spreading the ideology of white supremacy in countries such as Serbia, Bulgaria and Hungary, according to a Romanian news station. Digi24.
“The suspect is said to be one of the founders of an organization that supports the ideology of white supremacy, that has publicly presented itself as a group ready to fight, that campaigns for a new nationalist movement of white supremacy and identity,” the statement said, according to police Radio Free Europe.
RAM members were present at the infamous 2017 Unite the Rights rally in Charlottesville that resulted in the death of Heather Heyer.
After his initial charges were dropped in 2019, Rundo is believed to have left the United States.
A federal judge in Los Angeles dismissed the charges on the grounds that the 1968 Riot Act was unconstitutional.
Justice Cormac Kearney said someone could be convicted under the law simply for texting friends about meeting up at a political rally, adding that even those who hold “hateful and toxic ideologies” are protected by the First Amendment.
He was accused of “traveling to political rallies throughout California where they violently assaulted counter-protesters, journalists and a police officer,” according to a Justice Department press release.
Rando is pictured during an arrest in Berkeley, California in 2017
The video showed Rando punching counter-protesters in Huntington Beach and a police officer in Berkeley, according to an FBI affidavit.
Prosecutors described RAM as “a militant militant group of a new white supremacy and identity nationalist movement.”
Rundo was indicted again in January 2023, leading to his recent arrest.
Radio Free Europe reports that in a September 2020 interview with a neo-Nazi podcast, Rundo said he left the US because of what he called “persecution” by the authorities.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, members of the Rise Above Movement believe they are fighting a “modern world” corrupted by the “destructive cultural influence” of liberals, Jews, Muslims and non-white immigrants.
Members call themselves a mixed martial arts club of the fringe “alt-right” movement, a loose mix of neo-Nazis, white nationalists and other far-right extremists.
The leader of a Southern California white supremacist group and three other members were arrested weeks after other members of the group were charged with allegedly inciting riots in Charlottesville, pictured
One woman, Heather Heyer, was killed when a car plowed into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“They operate very much like a street fight club,” Oren Segal, director of the ADL’s Center on Extremism, said earlier this month. The group has its roots in the racist skinhead movement in Southern California, Segal said.
In August 2017, Rundo and his associates walked into a Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville with their hands taped, “ready for a street fight,” U.S. Attorney Thomas Cullen said at a news conference announcing the charges in 2018 .
Hundreds of white nationalists gathered in Charlottesville to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
Clashes erupted on August 11 when a crowd of white nationalists marching through the University of Virginia campus with torches and chanting racist slogans clashed with a small group of counter-protesters.
The next day, more violence erupted between counter-protesters and participants in the Unite the Right rally, which was billed as the largest gathering of white nationalists in at least a decade.
Street fighting broke out before the scheduled event began and continued for nearly an hour in front of police until authorities forced the crowd to disperse.
After authorities forced the protest to break up on August 12, Heyer, 32, was killed when a car plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters.
The death toll rose to three when a state police helicopter observing the event crashed, killing two troopers.