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Last updated April 24, 1998

Calendar of Conspiracy, Volume 2, Number 1: A Chronology of Anti-Government Extremist Criminal Activity, January to March 1998

A Militia Watchdog Special Report

 

INTRODUCTION

The following is a chronology of some of the events surrounding anti-government criminal activity in the United States during the first quarter of the year 1998. It illustrates both the scope of such activity—from large-scale acts of terrorism to local acts of harassment and intimidation—and its geographic extent—from major cities like Minneapolis to remote rural areas in Texas and Washington. The chronology is not comprehensive. Although all major events are included, no systemized reporting system exists for smaller scale events. As a result, arrests or convictions for charges such as placing bogus liens, impersonating public officials or committing similar offenses are considerably underrepresented in this report. Such activities occur with a very high level of frequency across the nation. Some examples are included in this chronology to give some indication of the type of activities of this sort that take place. This report includes events from twenty-five states, but activity occurs in every state in the country.

 

 JANUARY

January 5, 1998, Idaho: Professional skater Gary Beacom receives a 21-month sentence for failure to pay close to $200,000 in income taxes. Beacom, a Canadian who may be deported as a result, is a "constitutionalist" and tax protester who believes the Constitution does not require him to pay income tax.

January 5, 1998, Massachusetts: A deadline passes for John and Rhetta Sweeney of Hamilton, Massachusetts, to surrender their home. The couple lost their home to the FDIC for not paying back a $1.6 million loan, but refuses to leave. The Sweeneys instead sought support from local militia groups, who begin patrolling their property. Now U.S. marshals must decide how to evict them peacefully.

January 6, 1998, Texas: German native and Republic of Texas group member Christina Swann is ordered deported back to Germany because of two aggravated felony convictions on charges of burglary and theft. Swann had previously been in trouble with the INS for a previous arrest for numerous unpaid traffic citations. Swann refused to put state tags on her vehicles.

January 8, 1998, Wisconsin: Three Wisconsin tax protesters are sentenced to jail for leading an organization whose members filed more than 200 fraudulent income tax returns. Frank Wysocki, Sr., and Alan Cooper are sentenced to three years and ten months, while Robert Iacoe is sentenced to three years and five months. The three headed a group called "Sovereign Citizens for Liberty" which sold "untax packages" to would-be tax protesters.

January 8, 1998, California: Jeffrey Allen Campbell and Justin Bertone, two alleged members of the white supremacist White Criminals on Dope are arrested on suspicion of having been behind the planting of 10 fake bombs in Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley, targeting minority business owners. They are reportedly linked with "Peckerwood" skinhead gangs in southern California.

January 8, 1998, Nevada: Robert Storms, a Virginia City bartender and militia member, is convicted of selling illegal guns but acquitted of six counts of making and selling pipe bombs. Robert, his brother Kevin (a reserve deputy in Storey County), and former sheriff's deputy Griffith Evan Rausch, Jr., had been arrested on various weapons and bomb-making charges. Kevin Storms had previously pleaded guilty to machine guns and pipe bomb charges.

January 12, 1998, Florida, Tennessee: Florida resident Jay Maggi, a Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controller, is found guilty on two counts of tax evasion in Tennessee. Maggi, a tax protester, claimed to be exempt from taxes because he did not fit the definition of a "person."

January 13, 1998, Ohio: White supremacist and anti-government extremist Cheyne Kehoe is found guilty by an Ohio jury of attempted murder and three other counts for his part in a shootout with Ohio law enforcement officers in February 1997. His brother Chevie, also involved in the shootout, has yet to stand trial. The Kehoes reportedly were involved in various illegal activities designed to create an "Aryan People's Republic," and Chevie Kehoe and several other participants face racketeering charges for those activities.

January 14, 1998, Idaho: "Constitutionalist" Grant Walton is sentenced to six months in the Idaho County jail for refusing to buy a driver's license and register his car. There are so many spectators at his trial that many have to stand in the hall outside the courtroom. Walton receives the maximum sentence possible because prosecutors contended that he provoked a confrontation with the arresting officer during a traffic stop for speeding (later in January he will comply with a judge's order to buy a driver's license).

January 14, 1998, Texas: Five members of the Republic of Texas are indicted for failing to appear for court hearings in December 1997 in a conspiracy and mail fraud case. Indicted are Richard McLaren, Joe Louis Reece, Linh Ngoc Vu, Jasper Edward Baccus, Erwin Leo Brown and Steven Craig Crear. All had been previously incarcerated on other charges.

January 15, 1998, New Hampshire: Constitutionalist Edward James Loh is arrested for driving a truck without license plates, drivers license or registration. He is charged with operating without a valid license, having an unregistered vehicle and disobeying a police officer. Loh refuses to pay his $25 bail, which lands him in jail for months until his trial date is set. He could face up to a year in jail.

January 20, 1998, Ohio: White supremacist Cheyne Kehoe is sentenced to 24 years in prison for his conviction on attempted murder and other charges stemming from a February 1997 gunfight with Ohio police (see above entry).

January 20, 1998, Nevada: Tax protester Larry Greatwood of Henderson, Nevada, is sentenced to forty months in prison for a tax scheme in which he encouraged people to file false income tax returns. He was convicted of one count of bankruptcy fraud, one count of corruptly impeding federal officers and seven counts of presenting false claims. Greatwood also filed bogus liens of $1 million against IRS employees.

January 21, 1998, Colorado: Militia member Kevin Terry pleads guilty to illegally possessing a machine-gun in exchange for the dismissal of conspiracy and other charges. Kevin Terry was one of three members of the Colorado First Light Infantry militia group arrested on various conspiracy and weapons charges.

January 22, 1998, South Carolina: Federal Judge dismisses a lawsuit filed by tax protesters Nolan and Marcia Hoopingarner against the Rock Hill Herald (a South Carolina newspaper) and some 36 public officials. Hoopingarner had previously been acquitted by a jury trial in 1995 on charges of threatening a public official, after a county treasurer alleged that he had threatened her and her family at her office. In the lawsuit, Hoopingarner argued that sheriff's deputies trespassed on his property to arrest him and then beat him. Hoopingarner had refused to pay local taxes. The Herald had merely reported on the story.

January 23, 1998, Texas: Three Ku Klux Klan members receive lengthy sentences for their role in a 1997 conspiracy to bomb a natural gas processing plant in north Texas to act as a diversion for an armored car robbery. Edward Taylor, Jr., receives 21 years and 10 months in prison and Shawn Dee Adams receives 14 years in prison. Carl Waskom, who pled guilty to conspiracy, receives a sentence of nine years and two months. A fourth defendant, Catherine Adams, awaits sentencing.

January 26, 1998, Colorado: Militia leader Ron Cole, head of the Colorado First Light Infantry, pleads guilty on four illegal weapons charges in federal court in exchange for the dismissal of additional charges. He faces a sentence of up to 27 months in prison.

January 27, 1998, Texas: Republic of Texas member Carol Davis Walker is sentenced to ten years in prison for having burned down her home in 1996 in order to collect insurance money. The judge in the case also revokes her probation on charges of criminal conspiracy to commit capital murder and solicitation of capital murder relating to an attack a decade earlier on her sister's husband.

January 29, 1998, Utah: Dental technician and tax protester Fred Miller receives a guilty verdict for not paying state taxes for five years in the mid-1990s. Miller claimed that he was not required to pay taxes because he was not a "person." He faces up to 30 years in prison. His is one in a continuing series of prosecutions against tax protesters in Utah after the state decided to crack down; Utah reportedly has the highest per capita number of tax protesters in the nation.

January 29, 1998, Texas: Ku Klux Klan member Catherine Dee Adams receives a sentence of 15 years for her role in a plot to bomb a natural gas processing plant (see above) in 1997.

January 29, 1998, Alabama: The New Woman All Women Clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, which performs abortions, is bombed, resulting in the death of a police officer and the severe wounding of a clinic worker. The prime suspect, Eric Rudolph, becomes a much sought-after fugitive. Rudolph is alleged to be a white supremacist with connections to the militia group Northpoint Tactical Teams. Despite a massive search, law enforcement authorities cannot locate Rudolph.

 

FEBRUARY

February 2, 1998, West Virginia: West Virginia "Mountaineer Militia" member James Rogers is sentenced to a year in prison for his role in a plot to bomb an FBI fingerprinting facility in Clarksburg, West Virginia. The former firefighter who provided copies of facility blueprints to other militia members is the first person sentenced under the 1994 anti-terrorism law. Prosecutors had recommended he serve the full ten years possible, but the judge said Rogers had had an exemplary record as a public servant before his arrest.

February 5, 1998, Montana: Montana Freeman supporter Lavon Hanson is sentenced to a year and a day in prison for his conviction of bank fraud. Hanson had earlier pled guilty in a plea bargain, admitting to sending out bogus money orders.

February 10, 1998, Colorado: Colorado First Light Infantry member Wallace Stanley Kennett pleads guilty to possessing an illegal machine gun in a plea bargain reached between the militia member and the federal government.

February 10, 1998, Wisconsin: White supremacist and militia member Merlon Lingenfelter is sentenced to two years and three months for possessing two machine guns. As part of a plea bargain, federal authorities agreed to dismiss a pipe bomb possession count. Lingenfelter was part of an unnamed militia group led by Bradley Glover which plotted to attack U.S. military bases suspected of training UN troops.

February 10, 1998, Texas: The "secretary of state" for the extremist group known as the Republic of Texas pleads guilty to income tax evasion in Dallas. Robert Kesterson, also responsible for the group's Internet site, avoided paying nearly $13,000 in income taxes for 1995. Kesterson agreed to cooperate with federal authorities in return for their not seeking charges against his wife.

February 10, 1998, Utah: Tax protesting truck driver Brown Kaplar receives convictions on five felonty counts for tax evasion and failure to file. Kaplar had claimed dthat his wages were not "income" according to the IRS code. He faces up to 30 years in prison.

February 11, 1998, Florida: Jacksonville pastor Joseph Welburn Evans is arrested for driving without a license. Evans instead had a license, license plate, registration and insurance card from the British West Indies, a non-existent country made up by anti-government extremists for the purposes of creating counterfeit documents. Evans is part of the Embassy of Heaven Church, an extremist organization whose members acknowledge no earthly laws and claim "diplomatic immunity" as "ambassadors" of the "Kingdom of Heaven."

February 17, 1998, Illinois: Militia sympathizer and gun dealer Shawn M. Cole is arrested on a charge of illegally selling a firearm to an undercover officer. State police seize more than a hundred guns from his home. The arrest is the first arrest in a probe by state police of illegal gun sales. Cole had been prohibited from selling firearms by state authorities earlier, pending an investigation of his sales activities. However, he continued to deal guns out of his home.

February 19, 1998, Nevada: Two men, William Leavitt and white supremacist Larry Wayne Harris, are jailed on charges of possessing anthrax in a much-publicized arrest. The substance turns out to be a harmless anthrax vaccine (although Harris will be found guilty of minor probation violations).

February 20, 1998, Ohio: White supremacist Chevie Kehoe pleads guilty to felonious assault, attempted murder and carrying a concealed weapon for his role in a February 1997 shootout with Ohio police. Eight other charges are dropped. Kehoe faces federal charges of murder, racketeering and conspiracy in Arkansas.

February 24, 1998, Illinois: Former Ku Klux Klan leader Dennis Michael McGiffen is one of three men charged with conspiracy to receive and possess machine guns and destructive devices as part of a wide-ranging plot to bomb public buildings across the country, rob banks, poison water supplies, and even to kill a federal judge and other people. Also charged are Wallace Scott Weicherding, a former prison guard, and Ralph P. Bock. McGiffen had quit the clan several years ago because it was not radical enough to suit him. McGiffen called his group "The New Order," after a 1980s white supremacist group which made headlines for its crimes of armed robbery, counterfeiting and murder.

February 28, 1998, Massachusetts: U.S. marshals launch a long-awaited raid on the mansion of John Sweeney in Hamilton, Massachusetts, where Sweeney and his wife Rhetta had holed up for nine months in a stand-off over a $1.6 million bank loan. Authorities enter the house and arrest Sweeney, who surrenders peacefully, on contempt-of-court charges. Half a dozen supporters, including alleged militia members, who had been helping the Sweeneys, left willingly after being served with a court order to leave or be subject to arrest for criminal contempt.

  

MARCH

March 2, 1998, Washington: A federal judge hands down "exceptional sentences" to Veryl Knowles and Charles C. Miller for their roles in a massive scheme to create and pass counterfeit money orders. The two "freemen" received sentences of eleven years and three months (for Knowles) and twelve years and three months (for Miller). Federal judge John Coughenour handed out particularly long sentences because he said he wanted to send a warning message to people who attempted similar schemes.

March 2, 1998, Ohio: Aryan Nations member Morris Lynn Gulett is sentenced to a year in prison after pleading guilty to a charge of aggravated assault on a police officer for an incident in which he purposely rammed his van into Dayton police officers trying to stop him for a traffic violation. As Gulett had already spent a year in jail awaiting trial and sentencing, the sentence actually means he will be freed from jail.

March 6, 1998, Illinois: A fourth member of the white supremacist group "The New Order," Glenn LeVelle Lowtharp, is indicted for crimes related to the group's various anti-government plots. Lowtharp helped turn rifles to automatic weapons for the group.

March 7, 1998, Illinois: Self-proclaimed Aryan Nations member Donald Young, a Springfield, Illinois, resident, is arrested after a car chase in connection with a series of telephone bomb threats. Police find two explosive devices in his car and one on a convenience store parking lot; Young admits to planting a bomb at Casey's General Store. He is charged with possessing incendiary devices, fleeing from an officer and criminal damages to property; additional charges are possible.

March 8, 1998, Texas: Jason Leigh, a Denton, Texas resident, attempts to take over the Veterans Affairs regional office in Waco. He crashes his vehicle into the office, telling authorities he is arms and possesses explosives, beginning a 14-hour standoff that lasts until his final surrender to police. At one point Leigh demands $1 million for an organization called "Save Our Soldiers," which apparently consisted only of Leigh. Leigh was obsessed with UFOs and a local newspaper editor characterized his anti-government views as similar to those of the Republic of Texas.

March 9, 1998, Washington, Montana: Federal investigators arrest white supremacist Kirby Kehoe in Springdale, Washington, on weapons charges. ATF agents seize grenades, tear gas machine guns and ammunition at Kehoe's residence and in a storage locker in Thompson Falls, Montana. Kehoe is the father of Cheyne and Chevie Kehoe, convicted criminals in connection with a shootout with law enforcement officers in Wilmington, Ohio, in February 1997 (see above). Chevie Kehoe is also under federal indictment in Arkansas on racketeering charges associated with the murder of an Arkansas gun dealer and his family, and other activities. The Kehoes had been allegedly attempting to establish an "Aryan People's Republic." Kirby Kehoe was indicted in 1997 in Spoke on various weapons charges. Additional firearms charges will be filed against him in a few days.

March 10, 1998, Idaho: Constitutionalist and tax protester Elaine Gott is sentenced to nine years in prison for her convictions on 23 counts of fraud, mail fraud, bank fraud and other charges. Gott, her husband George Michael Gott, and four other defendants, were involved in a number of activities designed to hide their income and file bogus liens against public officials and private individuals. All other participants but Gott's husband had been previously sentenced.

March 12, 1998, California: The leader of a militia group called the Southern California Minutemen Association is ordered to stand trial for a plot to use snipers to murder illegal immigrants at the U.S.-Mexican border. A judge rules that there is sufficient evidence to bring Alvin Ung to trial on thirteen felony counts, mostly various weapons and explosives charges.

March 12, 1998, Texas: Louis Ray Boudreaux, Jr., a "Christian Sovereign National of the Republic of Texas," is jailed on retaliation charges after sending a letter to state District Judge Lee Alworth threatening him with the death penalty for an act of "treason." Alworth's "treason" was to divide Boudreaux's property in a 1996 divorce case. Boudreaux faces a maximum ten year sentence if convicted.

March 13, 1998, Pennsylvania: Aryan Republican Army member Michael Brescia is sentenced to 57 months in prison for his role in an armed robbery designed to acquire funds with which to finance white supremacist activities. Brescia was one of five members of the gang which robbed 22 banks in the Midwest from 1992 to 1995. Also sentenced is Scott Stedeford, who receives a mandatory 20-year no-parole prison sentence. He is already serving a nine-year federal prison term on related charges.

March 14, 1998, Idaho: White supremacist Mathew Bracken of Sandpoint, Idaho, is arrested in western Washington while sleeping in a stolen car. He is jailed on suspicion of auto theft, possessing explosives and being a felon in possession of a loaded firearm. He had recently escaped from a Bonner County jail. He has an extensive criminal history, but police are not sure what he was planning to do with the bomb-making materials they found in the car.

March 16, 1998, Kentucky: Tony Gamble, Imperial Wizard of the KKK Tristate Knight Riders, is sentenced to 55 years in prison for raping and sodomizing two young girls.

March 16, 1998, Illinois, Ohio: Daniel Rick becomes the fifth person arrested in connection with a plot by the white supremacist group "The New Order" to carry out a campaign of armed robberies, assassinations, bombings and other crimes. He is held on felony charges of illegally possessing a machine gun and related weapons charges.

March 17, 1998, New York: Two former NYPD officers become the thirteenth and fourteenth NYPD members to be convicted in a long-lasting tax evasion scheme. Former officer Frank Sambula and former detective Barton Adams are convicted on 10 counts relating to tax evasion and conspiracy. Adams and Sambula sold tax evasion kits originating from extremist groups to other police officers, charging up to $2,000 per kit.

March 18, 1998, Michigan: Three members of the Michigan-based North American Militia are arrested for federal weapons violations, including possession of machine guns. The three militiamen, Ken Carter, Bradford Metcalf and Randy Graham, are alleged to have plotted to kill federal agents and bomb various targets, including the Battle Creek Federal center, a military hangar and a television station.

March 18, 1998, Florida: A 66-year old retired New York police officer is found guilty of driving with a suspended driver's license and failing to register his car by a Martin County jury which spent seven minutes deliberating. William John Rudge, a self-proclaimed "Freeman," defended himself, saying that he had "sovereign authority" to operate a vehicle in the U.S. without any restrictions from the state. Rudge's vehicle instead sported a homemade "Florida Republic" vehicle tag. The judge places Rudge on a one-year probation and fines him $400.

Circa March 18, 1998, Wisconsin: Militia leader Don Treloar of Ogdensburg, Wisconsin, is arrested by federal and local law enforcement officers for impersonating a federal official. Treloar had been masquerading as a "Special united States Marshal," which is one of several "patriot" groups that imitate valid law enforcement organizations (others include the Constitution Rangers and the Civil Rights Task Force).

March 19, 1998, Pennsylvania: Aryan Nations leader and "Aryan Republican Army" member Mark Thomas is sentenced to eight years in prison for his role in helping a white supremacist group plot and commit armed robberies to finance their crusade against the government. Indicted in early 1997, Thomas pled guilty and agreed to cooperate with authorities. This cooperation causes the judge to sentence Thomas to two years less than suggested by sentencing guidelines.

March 20, 1998, Oregon: Ronald A. Griesacker, known under a variety of other names as well, is arrested in Oregon on federal bank and mail fraud charges. Griesacker, a peripatetic figure on the extremist fringe, was associated with a wide variety of groups and activities, ranging from common law courts to the Republic of Texas to the Washitaw Nation, and had been long sought after.

March 20, 1998, Utah: Tax protester Fred Miller (see above) is sentenced to five years in prison for his tax protest activities which resulted in five felony convictions in January 1998. The state was willing to recommend probation had Miller simply filed tax returns, but Miller persisted in claiming he did not have to pay taxes.

March 24, 1998, Colorado: Colorado militiaman Ron Cole is sentenced to 27 months in prison for possessing four illegal machine guns (see above).

March 25, 1998, Washington: Federal authorities unveil four new charges against white supremacist Kirby Kehoe, accusing him of two counts of possessing unregistered firearms, one count of possessing a machine gun and one count of transportation of firearms while under indictment (see above).

March 25, 1998, Florida: Grant McEwan, a former millionaire and fugitive tax protester, receives a two year sentence on assorted charges of tax fraud, threatening IRS employees, filing bogus liens and bond jumping. He was also given two years' probation and ordered to perform 50 hours of community service. The light sentence may have been due to cooperation offered by McEwan to authorities which led to the arrest of long-time fugitive tax protester Tupper Saussy, who had spent the last ten years successfully avoiding capture.

March 26, 1998, Minnesota, Iowa: Marvin Pullman of Elma, Iowa, and Milton Bigalk of Stewartville, Minnesota, are convicted on various charges related to tax protest activities. Pullman is convicted of conspiracy to defraud the government, possession of counterfeit securities and obstructing the IRS. Bigalk is convicted of making false claims and conspiring to defraud the government. Three other defendants have previously pled guilty. The tax protesters created a sham company called Freemen and Associates to try to hide offshore investments; they also used fraudulent trusts to hide money from the IRS.

March 26, 1998, Tennessee: Milford Dwayne Case is arrested by local and federal law enforcement officials and charged with soliciting to commit first-degree murder. Case is a member of a white supremacist group called the White Aryan Legion, but the alleged murder offer was apparently not racially motivated.

March 27, 1998, West Virginia: Floyd Raymond Looker, leader of the West Virginia Mountaineer Militia, is sentenced to 18 years in prison for his role in a 1996 plot to blow up the FBI's fingerprinting facility in Clarksburg, West Virginia.

March 31, 1998, Montana: Five Montana Freemen are found guilty of various charges in the first major trial of individuals involved in the 81-day standoff between the Freemen and federal authorities in 1996. Steven Hance, James Hance, John Hance and Jon Barry Nelson are convicted of being accessories after the fact to the armed robbery of an NBC television news crew, while the Hances are also convicted of being fugitives in possession of firearms. Elwin Ward is convicted of submitting a false claim to the IRS, but was found innocent of other charges. In a decision that dismayed some officials, the jury acquits Freeman Edwin Clark of all charges and frees him. The trial of the leaders of the Freemen begins in May 1998.

 

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