By DAMIEN FISHER, InDepthNH.org
Leo Cullinan, head of the New Hampshire branch of Neo-Nazi organization NSC-131, died from a lethal combination of fentanyl and methamphetamine, according to his official death certificate.
NSC-131 is also known as the Nationalist Social Club.
Cullinan died the day after the group NSC-131 tried to intimidate people at a drag queen event at the Teatotaller Café in Concord. It’s not clear whether Cullinan was at that rally where members gave the Nazi salute outside the café as they were all wearing face masks.
InDepthNH.org obtained a certified copy of his death certificate this week from the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Vital Statics Administration.
The signed and sealed certificate states that Cullinan, 35, died of an accidental drug overdose at his home in Manchester on June 18.
Drug abuse, and even trafficking, plays a large role in many white supremacist organizations, said Kris Goldsmith, head of Task Force Butler, an all-volunteer group of veterans who investigate and track Neo-Nazis.
“Lots of Neo-Nazi organizations, like the Aryan Brotherhood, operate as criminal street gangs, and the use of drugs and alcohol is a huge part of their identity,” Goldsmith said.
Last month, Vice News reported that members of the Active Club, Neo-Nazi street fighting gang, were smuggling illegal steroids hidden in packages of Active Club merchandise.
The cause of Cullinan’s sudden death in June has been shrouded in mystery. Even the attorney representing Cullinan in the civil case brought by New Hampshire’s Civil Rights Unit has been unable to get clear answers about the white supremacist’s demise.
Attorney Patrick Daubert filed a motion in Rockingham Superior Court this summer seeking to have Cullinan dropped from the state’s civil rights case. In a supporting affidavit, Daubert states that while Cullinan’s family and friends, as well as multiple media outlets, all report he died in June, Daubert had been unable to find an obituary, and he was unable to get a copy of the death certificate.
The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office brought civil charges against Cullinan and NSC-131 founder Christopher Hood for the group’s demonstration last year in Portsmouth. Members of NSC-131 allegedly hung a banner off a Route 1 overpass proclaiming “Keep New England White.”
The case was dismissed in June when Judge David Ruoff found the state’s prosecution violates basic First Amendment rights. The state is appealing that decision.
NSC-131 has been raising its profile in recent years for its violent and hateful rhetoric. In 2021, the group issued threats to former Rep. Manny Espitia, D-Nashua, after Espitia brought attention to NSC-131 propaganda.
The group has been traveling through New England, targeting minorities and LGBTQ+ gatherings for violence. Cullinan allegedly assaulted a protester at a Black Lives Matter gathering in Manchester.
This summer, Salem member of NSC-131, Kyle Morris, 23, was sentenced to federal prison for owning machine guns. Morris allegedly planned violent attacks on minorities, including suicidal mass shootings and a terror attack that would end with blowing up the Massachusetts State House.
Goldsmith has been warning law enforcement that the group is escalating its violence, and ought to be treated by police and prosecutors as a criminal street gang no different than the Latin Kings, MS13, the Bloods, or the Crips.
Cullinan’s drug overdose death should be another red flag to law enforcement about NSC-131. The Neo-Nazi leader’s criminal history includes a 2009 conviction for possession and transportation of a controlled drug and possession of a firearm.
Goldsmith said, like many Neo-Nazis, Hood never held a normal job. Selling drugs is an easy way to make money to subsidize that hate-fueled lifestyle without holding a job, Goldsmith said. It also feeds into the general misery that comes with membership.
“Alcohol and drug abuse are defining characteristics and symptoms,” Goldsmith said. “At their core, there are deeply anti-social individuals who find it hard to cope.”
NSC-131 got its start because of drugs, Goldsmith said. Hood had been a member of the Neo-Nazi group, Patriot Front, when he was kicked out in 2019. The reason, according to Goldsmith, is Hood stole money from Patriot Front and used the cash to buy drugs. As a result, Hood can never go back to Patriot Front, Goldsmith said.