Prosecutors display weaponry seized after militiamen arrests

May 10, 2012

Anchorage Daily News on May 9, 2012 released the following:

“Jurors get a look at arsenal seized from homes, trailer.
By RICHARD MAUER

The weapons and conspiracy trial of three Fairbanks militia members continued into its third day Wednesday with the introduction of seized guns, ammunition and documents, some brought into the federal courthouse, others as pictures projected on a big screen.

Federal prosecutors are taking the early days of the trial to set the groundwork for the weeks ahead. They’re systematically — and somewhat tediously — working with witnesses from the FBI and Alaska State Troopers to show the jury what their search warrants uncovered in the homes and a trailer belonging to the three defendants, Schaeffer Cox, Coleman Barney and Lonnie Vernon.

On Wednesday morning, FBI Agent Jolene Goeden showed photographs of thousands of rounds of ammunition seized in March 2011 from a large white trailer owned by Barney that was found parked at a Fairbanks ice park after the three men were arrested.

FBI agents had thought the trailer would be at the home of one of the suspects. When it wasn’t there when the men were arrested March 10, 2011, it set off a frantic search that included the use of aircraft. Officials knew from an informant that the trailer was filled with weapons and were concerned on two fronts — that other militia members, upset with the arrests of their leadership, might stage an attack using the ordnance, or that it could pose an explosion hazard to innocent bystanders if something inside ignited accidently.

Barney eventually told a U.S. Marshal where it was.

In addition to the ammo, the trailer also held a sniper rifle, a tripod-mounted semi automatic rifle, an M-16 assault rifle and grenade launchers, as well as supplies and equipment for Barney’s contracting business, Mammoth Electric.

Goeden also showed another copy of the 17 “Acts of War” that was found in the trailer. Unlike the one found in Cox’s house and entered as evidence Tuesday, this one had checkmarks next to the acts that presumably had already taken place, including firearms restrictions, confiscation of “any property,” federalization of law enforcement and the surrendering of power to a corporation or foreign government.

Only three acts remained unchecked: “mandatory medical anything,” elimination of gold, cash or barter, and the use of chips or marks to track, control or monitor.

Cox, the 28-year-old leader of the Alaska Peacemaker Militia and an ideological force in the Alaska “sovereign citizen” movement, once rescinded a guilty plea to a 2010 reckless endangerment charge by filing a notice to the recorder’s office in Fairbanks. A copy of the notice and other filings in his case were among the documents seized in the search of the home of co-defendant Barney, 37, a major in the militia.

The jury saw a copy of the seized set of documents — the standard court order dated March 10, 2010, accepting his plea deal, providing for no jail time and two years probation, and the surreal documents Cox used to abrogate the plea, including the paperwork for his now-famous “trial” in a Denny’s restaurant before a jury of his pals in which he was acquitted. Among the papers was the document filed in the recorder’s office — a repository mainly for land transactions — in which Cox captioned his case, “State of Alaska, a fiction, plaintiff, v Schaeffer Cox, a natural Man, victim and witness, waiving no rights, EVER.”

Interspersed with written ramblings were displays of the arsenals the men had amassed: Kalashnikov- and M-16-style assault rifles, numerous pistols and long rifles, hundreds of ammo clips, launchers for firing pepper-spray and tear-gas type canisters along with dozens of those rounds, powder and explosives. Troopers and FBI seized numerous body armor vests, handcuffs, a lock-pick kit, police duty belts and a “go bag” with 10 hand-held radios, batteries, pistols, an assault rifle, loaded magazines and a roll of duct tape.

Alaska State Trooper Joshua Rallo said he counted 20,000 rounds of ammunition in a storage pantry on the first floor of Barney’s home in North Pole adjacent to his office.

At each break in the proceedings, one of the prosecutors and an FBI agent would wheel out the evidence already presented to the jury and return with a cart filled with more stuff, some of it quite heavy. And there are still days to go in this phase of the trial.

The defense attorneys have not been saying much, but on one occasion, Barney’s attorney, Tim Dooley, asked Rallo whether everything he seized “was legal for a citizen to own?”

“Provided they’re not a felon, I guess,” Rallo replied.

There’s been almost no evidence about how the defendants amassed their armaments, or managed to pay for them. Prosecutors introduced a credit card receipt from Cox for $583 to Far North Tactical, a Fairbanks arms and police-supply merchant, and the phone number for the shop showed up on other seized paperwork.

They also introduced a mail-order box for a 37mm grenade launcher from a company called American Ammo from Ohio, and the stern instructions that came with it, warning that using the product for anything other than as a low-powered “wildlife control banger” could get the user in serious trouble with the federal government.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Militia members acquitted of plotting to overthrow government

March 28, 2012

Los Angeles Times on March 28, 2012 released the following:

“A federal judge’s ruling disparages the government case against seven members of the Hutaree militia in Michigan. Two of the defendants still face lesser charges.

By Times Wire Services

DETROIT — In a sharp rebuke, a federal judge Tuesday acquitted seven members of a Michigan militia of plotting to overthrow the U.S. government with weapons of mass destruction — crimes that could have landed them in prison for life.

The ruling is an embarrassment for the government, which secretly planted a paid informant and an FBI agent inside the Hutaree militia four years ago and contended that members were armed for war in rural southern Michigan. Nine members were arrested in 2010. One previously pleaded guilty, and one was found incompetent to stand trial.

U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts said federal prosecutors, who rested their case last week, failed in five weeks of trial to prove that the Hutaree had a specific plan to kill a police officer and attack law enforcement personnel who showed up for the funeral.

Although testimony showed that Hutaree leader David Stone Sr. “may have wanted to engage in a war with the federal government … it is totally devoid of any agreement to do so between Stone and the other defendants,” Roberts wrote in a 28-page decision.

“This plan is utterly short on specifics,” the judge said, adding that “it is a stretch to infer that other members of the Hutaree knew of this plan, and agreed to further it.”

Defense lawyers say highly offensive remarks about police and the government were wrongly turned into a high-profile criminal case that drew public praise from U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr., who called the Hutaree a “dangerous organization.”

Roberts’ decision leaves federal prosecutors with what legal experts described as a “run of the mill” illegal firearms case against Stone, 47, and his son Joshua Stone, 24. They still face charges of possession of a machine gun and an unregistered firearm, which carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

The judge acquitted the five other defendants, including another son, David Stone Jr.

All defendants were acquitted of the most serious charges: seditious conspiracy, which carried a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. The judge also acquitted them of five lesser counts.

Attorney William Swor, who is representing Stone Sr. and visited him in the Wayne County Jail, said his client was grateful.

“He was quiet. He thanked God. He thanked the defense attorneys,” Swor told the Detroit Free Press. “And he shed a tear.”

Legal experts said prosecutors can’t appeal Roberts’ decision, which is equivalent to a jury’s acquittal.

“She stepped in and took the role of a jury,” said Wayne State University law professor Peter Henning, a former federal prosecutor. “It’s as if the jury acquitted them, and there can be no appeal of a jury acquittal.”

The U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment, pending the outcome of the trial against the remaining two defendants. The trial resumes Thursday.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.