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Last Updated August 19, 1999

The Militia Watchdog

 

 

 

 

 

Calendar of Conspiracy, Volume 3, Number 1:  A Chronology of Anti-Government Extremist Criminal Activity, January to March 1999

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 1999.  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 Los Angeles and Dallas to remote rural areas in Nebraska and Indiana.  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, committing tax-related crimes or 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 also generally does not include hate crimes, although occasionally extraordinary hate crimes are reported, because the line sometimes blurs between hate crimes and other extremist criminal activity.  This report includes events from twenty-five states (and Washington, D.C.), but activity occurs in every state in the country.

 

JANUARY 

January 4, 1999, Texas:  Tax protester and anesthesiologist Pedro Ivan Rivera is sentenced to 37 months in prison and ordered to pay over $400,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.  Rivera, a “sovereign citizen” who claims that the court has no authority over him and that IRS agents failed to show him a law that required him to pay income taxes, is unrepentant.

January 5, 1999, California, Indiana:  Fresno County sheriff’s deputies arrest four representatives of an Indiana-based group known as Constitutional Colleagues.  Those arrested include a deputy and a retired deputy.  They are charged with operating an illegal pyramid scheme.

January 5, 1999, California:  The Los Angeles City Council approves a $1.1 million defamation suit settlement filed by four men accused by the Los Angeles Police Department of belonging to a terrorist militia group that plotted to kill illegal aliens.  Although LAPD officials had said the men were planning multiple acts of terrorism, no evidence was produced to demonstrate the allegation.  The four men, and one other person not involved with the defamation suit, have all been charged on weapons violations.

January 7, 1999, Texas:  Militia leader Bradley Glover, architect of a plot to attack Fort Hood, Texas, on July 4, 1997, because the U.S. Army was allegedly training “Red Chinese” soldiers there, is sentenced to five years on weapons charges relating to the plot.  The scheme, for which six others were also arrested, was foiled by undercover Missouri State Highway Patrol officers.  Glover also received an 18-month sentence in Kansas last July, also on weapons charges.

January 10, 1999, Oklahoma:  A sealed indictment from the Oklahoma grand jury investigating the April 19, 1995, Oklahoma City bombing is opened.  The grand jury was created in order to explore the possibility that individuals other than Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were involved in the bombing.  However, the single indictment is for David Hoffman, a right-wing journalist and conspiracy theorist, on jury tampering charges.  Hoffman attempted to send copies of his book on the bombing, and explanatory material, to influence the grand jurors.

January 13, 1999, Nebraska:  Four York, Nebraska, men plead no contest to charges related to their actions in a racially-motivated disturbance in September 1998.  The four men were among 35 white men who marched on the home of a black man living with a white woman.  Marchers yelled racial slurs, carried weapons and Confederate flags, and brought along a white cross.

January 13, 1999, Kansas:  Mark Kline Drake and Paula Christine Drake are charged with violating rules and regulations for state-owned property and obstructing the legal process, as well as a criminal threat count and, for Paula, battery against a law enforcement officer.   The Drakes are leaders of a group of “constitutionalists” who had, under the rubric of the “Kansas Territorial Agricultural Society,” held meetings in the statehouse even after ordered to leave.  Mark Drake, who claims to be the governor of Kansas, also distributed fliers with a picture of the real governor, Bill Graves, with a hangman’s noose around his neck and a caption that read, “Pro-Choice:  To hang or not to hang?  That is the choice.”  It was the flier which causes the criminal threat charge, but this charge is later dropped.  The Drakes are the leaders of the “Christian Constitutional Court.”

January 15, 1999, Indiana, Arkansas:  U.S. Marshals arrest James Arthur Wallington in New Haven, Indiana, as he is picking up his mail.  Wallington, an Arkansas native using the name “Samuel Green,” is in fact a former member of The Order, a notorious white supremacist group that in the 1980s committed armored car robberies, counterfeiting, and murder.  Wallington was arrested in 1985 on weapons charges, but fled before his trial and eluded authorities for thirteen years.

January 15, 1999, Michigan:  John Charles Clark receives a sentence of life in prison without parole for his murder of Traverse City, Michigan, police officer Sgt. Dennis Finch.  Clark, who believed that Traverse City was the capitol of the New World Order, was also upset over various gun laws, and shot Finch during a confrontation at Clark’s house.

January 20, 1999, Maryland, Washington, D.C.:  Walter Wilson Johnson, of Capitol Heights, Maryland, is arrested during the impeachment trial of President William Clinton by Capitol Police when an x-ray search of his bag reveals an 18-inch knife and two M-60 firecracker-like devices.  Johnson’s bag also reveals survivalist materials, a Soldier of Fortune magazine, and an article on the Oklahoma City bombing.   Johnson is jailed without bond on charges of carrying a dangerous weapon and illegal explosives.

January 25, 1999, Ohio:  A grand jury indicts South Lebanon, Ohio, resident Larry Roten on two counts of intimidation and four counts of using sham legal process for threatening to file a $5 million lien against a Warren County prosecutor.  Roten is the leader of Hand to Hand Combat Ministries and is a member of the “common law” movement in Ohio.  Following the indictment, Roten becomes a fugitive rather than face arrest; however, his fugitive status does not stop him and his friends from continuing to file legal papers.

January 25, 1999, Idaho:  White supremacist organization Aryan Nations is sued by the Southern Poverty Law Center in a civil suit over an alleged assault on July 1998 by three Aryan Nations “security guards” on a motorist and her son who had stopped in front of the Aryan Nations compound to search for a wallet that had fallen out of their car.

January 26, 1999, Michigan:  Randy Graham, a member of the North American Militia in Kalamazoo, Michigan, is found guilty of plotting to blow up federal properties and threatening to attack and murder government officials.  He is also found guilty on drug charges.  However, the jury acquits him of charges of possessing illegal machine guns.

 

FEBRUARY

February 2, 1999, North Carolina:  James M. Anderson, of McGrady, North Carolina, is charged in the tire-iron beating of a Ku Klux Klan member who wanted to leave the group.  Four others charged received suspended jail sentences, while charges against a sixth person were dropped.

February 2, 1999, Oregon:  A federal jury rules that a World Wide Web site which featured “wanted” posters for abortion providers, as well as their addresses, was a direct threat and issues a judgment of $107.9 million against the defendants.  The fourteen defendants, including members of the American Coalition of Life Activists and Advocates for Life Ministries, stated that they would not pay.

February 3, 1999, Ohio:  Three Cincinnati-area residents, Edgar Bradley and his two sons, Edgar Bradley II and Roy Bradley, are convicted on charges of conspiring to commit tax fraud by using bogus trusts.  The Bradleys refuse to acknowledge that the U.S. government has the authority to collect income taxes.

February 3, 1999, Washington:  Spokane resident John James Hartz, Jr., is convicted on charges of threatening to kill a Superior Court Judge in 1998.  Hartz, already serving time for convictions on assault and selling drugs, receives an 8 ½ year sentence.  Hartz, a “constitutionalist,” refused to attend his trial, claiming that state and federal courts violate “God’s law and natural law.”

February 5, 1999, Texas:  Two members of the “Republic of Texas,” a sovereign citizen-style extremist group, are sentenced to more than 24 years in prison for their role in a biological weapons case in Brownsville, Texas.  The two, as well as another person, came up with an elaborate scheme to kill government employees, including President Bill Clinton, with cactus thorns dipped in deadly substances.  At their trial, the jury acquitted them on most counts, but did find them guilty on charges of sending threatening e-mails to the Internal Revenue Service and the Drug Enforcement Agency.  The third defendant, Oliver Dean Emigh, had been acquitted on all counts, but Johnie Wise and Jack Abbott Grebe are sentenced to 292 months in prison.

February 9, 1999, Arkansas:  White supremacist Kirby Kehoe pleads guilty to racketeering in connection with his role in a group led by his son, Chevie Kehoe, to set up a white nation.  The younger Kehoe, as well as another man, Daniel Lee, face similar charges in a complex case, but are alleged to have murdered an Arkansas family in 1996 as well.   The charge to which Kehoe pleads states that his attempted to “identify targets of theft, commit burglary, plan robbery, transport co-conspirators, conceal and dispose of stolen property, and to move stolen property from state to state.”  Kehoe is already serving a more than four year prison sentence on weapons charges.

February 10, 1999, Ohio:  Tax protester Salvatore Spine, Jr., pleads guilty to helping a Lancaster, Ohio, businessman hide $1.5 million in income through various tax evasion schemes.  Spine had been a fugitive for 3 ½ years before being arrested in November 1998 at his mother-in-law’s home in Prairie Township, Ohio.

February 11, 1999, Kansas:  Peripatetic Ronald A. A. Griesacker, active in extremist militia and common law groups in a number of states, is sentenced to 57 months in prison without parole for nine counts of bank fraud, one count of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit fraud.  Most of the charges were related to his attempt to pass bogus “freeman” checks.

February 12, 1999, Florida:  Jonathan Strawder, a former employee of Greater Ministries International, an organization based in Tampa, Florida, and suspected of running a huge pyramid scheme, reaches a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in which he agrees to plead guilty to one count of mail fraud and to cooperate with authorities.

February 13, 1999, Florida:  Raymond Leone, a member of the white supremacist organization World Church of the Creator, pleads guilty to committing hate crimes against two individuals at a rock concert in Miami, Florida, in 1997.

February 17, 1999, New Jersey:  Four members of a hate group/gang known as “The Crew” plead guilty to participating in a conspiracy of hate crimes targeting blacks and Asians in Burlington County.  Eleven members of the group have been arrested for hate crimes.  The four who plead guilty are Ryan Kennedy, Timothy Reynolds, Mark Hilton and Seiji Hashimoto, all in their lower twenties in age.

February 19, 1999, Utah:  In the state’s ongoing crackdown on the tax protest movement in Utah, tax protester Gary Tucker is convicted of a second and third degree felonies in relation to his tax evasion activities.  Tucker, who had agreed to cooperate with authorities, is given only a ten day sentence, four years probation, and a criminal fine of $5,000.

February 23, 1999, Texas:  John William King is convicted by a Jasper, Texas, jury in the dragging death of James Byrd, Jr.  King, it was revealed during his trial, had hoped to use the incident to help him start his own white supremacist group.  The murder of Byrd was one of the most spectacular and grisly hate crimes in recent years.

February 22, 1999, Louisiana:  Frank Palermo is sentenced to twenty years in jail in the first hate crime trial in Louisiana.  Palermo had been convicted on two counts of a hate crime for attempting to burn the cars of three black motorists, while a child was inside one of the cars.

February 26, 1999, California:  Tax protester Marlene Marsh reaches a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in which she admits that “untaxing,” which the group she had been involved with, the Pilot Connection Society, had been selling as a way to avoid income taxes, was a fraud.  Marsh pleads guilty to mail fraud and conspiracy and agrees to testify against other leaders of the group.  The prosecution of the Pilot Connection Society has been an affair fraught with problems, with two separate federal court trials, each of which with convictions that were overturned on appeal.  Marsh’s daughter and son-in-law earlier pled guilty to similar charges and were given probation.

 

MARCH

March 1, 1999, Arkansas:  The trial of Chevie Kehoe and Danny Lee on racketeering charges related to murders and robberies committed in an attempt to set up an Aryan People’s Republic begins in Little Rock, Arkansas.  The complicated case, which already has seen countless hearings and related trials, is one of the most important extremist-related cases since the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.  The trial is expected to take months.

March 2, 1999, Pennsylvania:  In a sign that authorities are closing in on a group operating an alleged multimillion dollar pyramid scheme, a Pennsylvania court fines Greater Ministries International $6.4 million for having ignored an earlier ruling to stop promoting its investment scheme.  An attorney for the Tampa, Florida, based group says that leader Gerald Payne will not pay because doing so would violate “God’s law.”

March 3, 1999, South Carolina:  Ku Klux Klan member Clayton Edward Spires, Jr. is sentenced to 26 years in federal prison for his role in a racially-motivated nightclub shooting in Lexington County.

March 4, 1999, Tennessee, Mississippi:  County authorities blast their way into the home of Bill and Carolyn Cockrell in Southaven, Mississippi, while the Cockrells were off the property.  The couple had been involved in a twelve-year eminent domain battle with local government, steadfastly refusing to leave despite various court orders and attempts at settlement.  In early 1997, the Mississippi Militia staged an armed intervention to cause authorities to back down from an imminent eviction attempt.   This time, however, the effort came as a surprise and local militia groups had no time to react.  The house is soon razed, but not before authorities find hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and over twenty weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

March 4, 1999, Alabama:  Steven Eric Mullins, an alleged “wannabe” skinhead and KKK admirer and Charles Monroe Butler are charged with killing Billy Jack Gaither in Sylacauga, Alabama, because Gaither was gay.  The two allegedly beat Gaither to death and set his body on fire.

March 10, 1999, Virginia:  A grand jury indicts twin brothers and white supremacists Kevin and Kalvin Hill on charges of conspiring to incite a race war between whites and blacks.  The two brothers, residents of a Richmond suburb, had previously been indicted on drug distribution and conspiracy charges.

March 12, 1999, Florida:  Seven leaders of Greater Ministries International, an organization suspected of having operated a huge pyramid scheme, are arrested in Tampa, Florida on twenty counts of federal fraud, conspiracy and money laundering charges.   Arrested are Gerald Payne, Betty Payne, Patrick Talbert, Haywood Eudon Hall, David Whitfield, Andrew Krishak, and James Chambers. 

March 12, 1999, Florida:  White supremacist Donald Hansard, Jr., receives a four and one-half year sentence for his role in a robbery and beating at a video store in Fort Lauderdale in March 1998.  Hansard and several others, members of the World Church of the Creator, had targeted the owner of a video store because he was Jewish.  The perpetrators, who all pled guilty, had discussed sending some of the proceeds of their robbery to Church headquarters in Illinois.

March 13, 1999, North Carolina:  An abortion clinic in Asheville, North Carolina, is bombed, creating speculation that extremist fugitive and alleged abortion clinic bomber Eric Rudolph, believed to be in hiding in North Carolina, may have committed the crime.  Authorities are initially skeptical.

March 15, 1999, Washington:  Bonnie and Russell Rosco, two Grant County tax protesters, receive a mild sentence of six months of home detention and five years of probation for their conviction on four counts of filing false tax returns.  The Roscos, who claimed to be “constitutional patriots,” asserted that their income was “non-taxable compensation.”

March 15, 1999, Utah:  Tax protester Robert Daugherty pleads guilty to two felony tax evasion counts in a deal with state authorities, who are waging what they call a successful crackdown on nonfilers in Utah

March 16, 1999, Montana:  Members of the Montana Freemen receive sentences for their previous convictions on fraud and robbery charges.  Freemen leader Leroy Schweitzer receives the longest sentence, over 22 years in jail, while eight other members received sentences ranging from probation to fifteen years.

March 18, 1999, California:  In Clovis, California, Nicholas Fleming is convicted of trying to intimidate a federal judge by filing bogus liens against the official.  Fleming was irate because the judge refused to hear a lawsuit he had filed on behalf of a fired police officer.

March 19, 1999, Florida:  Dawn Witherspoon is sentenced to 13 months in prison in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for her role in a robbery and beating of a Jewish video store owner (see above).

March 20, 1999, Kansas:  Two Wichita, Kansas, residents plead guilty in federal court to violating federal hate crime laws for their role in defacing a messianic Jewish synagogue.  Jake Fiel and Troy Philbrick face prison sentences of up to ten years.  Two days later, a third defendant, Jesse Maley, will also plead guilty; the fourth defendant will stand trial in late March.  At least one of the four is believed to be the member of a known white supremacist skinhead group.

March 22, 1999, Michigan:  Militia member Matthew Vinuya of Springfield, Michigan, is arrested on conspiracy, weapons and accessory charges for his role in a plot by members of the North American Militia to blow up federal property and threaten to assault and murder public officials.

March 24, 1999, New Mexico:  An environmental group called the Forest Guardians receives a threatening letter from a group identifying itself as the “Minutemen” just days after a pipe bomb was left at their office.  The group had also been targeted for violence in 1998, when unknown assailants fired a shotgun at the offices.

March 24, 1999, California:  Two suspected members of a white supremacist gang known as the Nazi Lowriders are arrested in southern California on suspicion of assaulting a black Wal-Mart employee in the store’s parking lot.  Shaun Broderick and Christopher Crawford allegedly attacked the employee with a hammer after the employee asked Broderick’s girlfriend if they had gone to high school together.

March 26, 1999, Montana, Kansas:  A western Montana couple are arrested in Kansas City, Kansas, on nine federal charges related to tax evasion and filing harassing liens against IRS agents.  Marc and Cheryl Andra, associated with the Pilot Connection Society, a well-known tax protest group, filed more than $18 million in liens against IRS agents investigating their case.

March 27, 1999, Idaho:  Former Aryan Nations security chief Edward Jesse Warfield pleads guilty to an attack on a woman and her son near the Aryan Nations compound in July 1998.  Warfield had been charged with two counts of aggravated assault, but is able to plead to an amended felony charge of aiding and abetting aggravated assault.

March 29, 1999, North Carolina, Texas:  Two North Carolina Ku Klux Klan members are charged with attempted capital murder after they exchanged gunshots with Texas police officers during a high-speed chase near Austin, Texas.  Arrested are Jimmy Ray Shelton and Eddie Melvin Bradley, who ignored police attempts to stop their speeding vehicle.  Documents in the vehicle identified Shelton as the Imperial Wizard of the Church of Confederate Ghost Knights of the KKK.

March 31, 1999, California:  Eugene Contreras, Maria Vasquez-Gutierrez and Benny Hurtado, all Lancaster, California, area residents, are arrested for weapons violations after authorities learned that Contreras, a wanted parolee, were hiding out in a heavily armed location.  Deputies not only recovered firearms and drug-related paraphernalia, but Aryan Nations propaganda and a photograph of Conteras with one of the suspects of the Wal-Mart hate crime (see above).  Contreras is thought to be a member of the Nazi Low Riders, while the other two are associated with a Latino gang from Los Angeles.  The connection is thought to be drug-related only.  The Nazi Low Riders originated as a prison gang but have expanded their reach in southern California.

March 31, 1999, Kansas:  A federal jury convicts Kevin Barnes of one count of conspiracy to oppress, threaten and intimidate Jews at a Wichita synagogue (see above).

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