An arrest on gun possession charges in Queens, New York, in November 2021 has led the Federal Bureau of Investigation to a pedophilic, Satanist extortion cult that has victimized dozens if not hundreds of minors, according to law enforcement documents, court records and sources with knowledge of the investigation.
Law enforcement discovered the organization, known as 764 and a range of aliases, while investigating alarming social media posts made by Angel Almeida, a 23-year-old resident of Astoria, Queens.
On 12 September 2023, the FBI issued a public warning about 764, noting the group is “deliberately targeting minor victims on publicly available messaging platforms to extort them into recording or livestreaming acts of self-harm and producing child sexual abuse material”. The advisory is the first formal mention of 764 by any American law enforcement agency.
The group appears to target children between the ages of eight and 17, the advisory notes, and particularly focuses on young people of color, youth identifying as LGBTQ+ or youth who struggle with mental health issues. Researchers familiar with 764 indicate the group’s members cultivate ties with minors through a wide range of platforms: either in wildly popular games like Roblox or gaming communications platforms like Discord and Twitch, as well as curated playlists on the streaming service SoundCloud. The group’s main form of communication is on Telegram, which has long been the platform of choice for many far-right extremists.
Members “use threats, blackmail and manipulation” to get youth to record videos showing acts of self-harm, animal cruelty, sexual acts and even suicide, the authorities warn. The footage is then circulated among members to extort victims further and exert control over them. In the group’s channels, members share violent “gore” videos depicting torture, lethal violence and other such acts, in an effort to desensitize viewers to acts of ultra violence.
The key motivators for the group, according to authorities, is “to gain notoriety and rise in status within their group”.
Documents and sources familiar with 764 indicate the group is an offshoot of the Order of Nine Angles (O9A), a violent, subversive amalgam of esoteric Hitler worship, Satanism and Wiccan tenets that American authorities recognize as a terrorist ideology and that has been connected with murders and attempted terrorist attacks in countries including the US, Britain, Germany, Canada and Russia.
Sources with knowledge of investigations into 764 indicate the group has a network of a couple thousand participants and hundreds of highly active members who generate and disseminate the bulk of the child pornography and gore videos found in the group’s channels on Telegram, Discord and more obscure platforms like Matrix.
Like many online-based extremist organizations, 764 involves people around the world, including people in the UK and Germany. A German teenager who is accused of murdering his foster family in Romania is suspected of participating in 764, according to reporting from Der Spiegel and Romanian outlet Libertatea.
The FBI was directed to Almeida by an anonymous tipster flagging his social media accounts, which contained images of violence against children and violence against animals. In one of the posts, Almeida expressed support for Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who massacred African American churchgoers in Charleston in 2015. Another showed him toting a shotgun while shirtless, and wearing a skull mask and crossed bandoliers of rifle ammunition across his chest with a flag in the background featuring an Order of Nine Angles symbol.
While searching Almeida’s apartment in New York, investigators recovered a 9mm handgun, bandoliers of rifle ammunition, books pertaining to the Order of Nine Angles, and a flag bearing the insignia of an American O9A offshoot, the Tempel ov Blood, according to a November 2021 detention memorandum filed by federal prosecutors.
The most telling item was an O9A “blood covenant” featuring a blood-smeared drawing of a hooded figure with glowing red eyes surrounded with sigils for four O9A deities and the caption Vindex, Nythra, Satan and Abatu. At the bottom of the page is an oath: “A covenant signed in blood. May the DEVIL walk with you always – SATANAE MANIBUS” (“by Satan’s Hand” in Latin). Similar indicia have been found in possession of O9A-influenced killers in Britain and Canada.
Almeida, who had served an 18-month sentence in Florida for third degree burglary in 2018, was arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm and detained in Brooklyn’s metropolitan detention center. In February 2023, federal prosecutors in the eastern district of New York filed a superseding indictment tacking on child pornography and child exploitation charges related to his activities in 764 and the hundreds of thousands of digital files recovered from four separate devices in his apartment. In the new charges, prosecutors allege Almeida coerced a teenage girl into having sexual relations with an older man and convinced another girl to cut herself, record the act on camera and send it to him.
Almeida was deemed fit for trial earlier this month, despite repeated violent behavior in the court room, including attempts to attack a justice department staffer in the audience and his own court-appointed counsel on separate occasions in June and September. His court-appointed counsel – the fourth attorney who has represented Almeida since his arrest in 2021 – did not respond to requests for comment about the allegations against his client.
The trial is currently scheduled for 4 December. If convicted, Almeida faces a potential maximum of life in federal prison.
• In the US, call or text the Childhelp abuse hotline on 800-422-4453 or visit their website for more resources and to report child abuse or DM for help. For adult survivors of child abuse, help is available at ascasupport.org. In the UK, the NSPCC offers support to children on 0800 1111, and adults concerned about a child on 0808 800 5000. The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (Napac) offers support for adult survivors on 0808 801 0331. In Australia, children, young adults, parents and teachers can contact the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or Bravehearts on 1800 272 831, and adult survivors can contact Blue Knot Foundation on 1300 657 380. Other sources of help can be found at Child Helplines International