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Last Updated March 8, 2000

The Militia Watchdog

 

 

 

 

 

Calendar of Conspiracy, Volume 3, Number 4:  A Chronology of Anti-Government Extremist Criminal Activity, October to December 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 fourth 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 San Diego to remote rural areas in Washington and Texas.  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-seven states but activity occurs in every state in the country.

  

OCTOBER

October 1, 1999, Florida:  Lawrence Michael Lombardi of Tallahassee, Florida, is arrested on suspicion of having committed two bombings at the historically black Florida A&M University.  Lombardi, who admits to FBI agents that he was the one who called in messages about the bombing filled with racial slurs, is arrested after police are tipped off by callers who recognized Lombardi buying pipes on a hardware store surveillance tape.  Lombardi pleads not guilty to two charges of making an unregistered weapon; prosecutors expect to file additional charges against him.

October 4, 1999, Florida:  It is revealed that white supremacist and World Church of the Creator member Jody Lee Mathis of Ft. Lauderdale has pled guilty to federal charges of selling a stolen shotgun and agreed to cooperate with officials investigating the World Church of the Creator in Florida.  Mathis is the seventh local member of the organization to be found guilty of crimes including armed robbery, assault and witness tampering.  All but one reached plea deals.

October 4, 1999, Arkansas, Washington, Ohio:  In Little Rock, Arkansas, convicted criminal Chevie Kehoe receives three life sentences without parole for the murder of an Arkansas gun dealer, his wife and their daughter as part of a conspiracy to create a white-only nation.  Prosecutors had asked for the death penalty. 

October 6, 1999, Arkansas, Missouri:  Missouri authorities call in the FBI to aid in the search for an alleged Ku Klux Klan recruiter, Gregory Owen Reid of Blytheville, Arkansas, wanted in a hit-and-run accident involving a black girl.  Reid is wanted by Pemiscot County officials on a charge of leaving the scene of an accident and by the FBI on a charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. Witnesses claim that Reid intentionally hit the girl as she was playing with friends on the edge of the road.

October 6, 1999, Florida:  Six West Palm Beach businessmen are indicted on federal charges related to a tax shelter scheme.  Tax protester John Philip Ellis, Sr., is charged with conspiracy to obstruct and impede the Internal Revenue Service, obstruction of justice, and structuring financial transactions to avoid the reporting requirement.  Five others, Robert Koch, Sharon Alfonso, Mark Kennedy, Jeffrey Pollard and Edward Riccardi, are charged with conspiracy to obstruct and impede the IRS in the assessment and collection of taxes.  The six, acting as American Asset Protection, sold people “common law trusts,” a common tax evasion scam.

October 6, 1999, Oklahoma, Arizona:  Michael Fortier, an associate of Timothy McVeigh, is sentenced to twelve years in prison for not informing authorities of the plans to bomb the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.  Fortier cooperated with authorities after being arrested following the April 19, 1995 bombing.

October 7, 1999, California:  Aryan Nations members Thomas Allen Timney and Jeffrey Dale Dossett are arrested on suspicion of having murdered Charles Boudreau of Riverside, California, kidnapped from his home in late September.  A third suspect, Durlene Olivia Westfall, is still being sought.

October 7, 1999, Idaho:  Tax protester Veral Smith is convicted on charges of willfully failing to file income tax returns, using fictitious financial instruments, failing to appear at a court-ordered hearing, resisting arrest, and assaulting federal agents.  Among other actions, Smith had tried to use bogus sight drafts to pay back taxes and to buy vehicles.

October 8, 1999, Michigan, Arizona:  Richard Van Hazel and Troy Coe, both from Phoenix, are arrested in Rochester Hills, Michigan, and charged in the attempted kidnapping and murder of an accountant.  Van Hazel, a white supremacist with links to a wide number of extremist groups, and convicted in 1987 of mailing death threats to IRS agents and an African-American judge, and Coe impersonated U.S. marshals in order to kidnap an accountant who gave testimony in an Arizona case involving a chiropractor charged with income tax evasion.  Authorities believe the two planned to kill the accountant.

October 8, 1999, Texas, Arizona:  A federal judge orders Benjamin Franklin Cook jailed after Cook fails to appear for a court hearing.  Federal authorities begin seeking the fugitive, thought to have defrauded investors out of around $50 million.  Cook claims the federal government has no authority over him, as he is not a resident of Washington, D.C.  At this point, though the case is still under investigation, Cook has not been charged with criminal offenses related to the investment scheme, which appears to be a “prime bank investment scheme,” a scam popular in Europe and gaining in popularity in the United States.  Three others, Ellsworth Wayne McLaws, Alan Clagg, and Gerald Lee Pate, are defendants in a Securities and Exchange Commission suit to stop the scheme.

October 14, 1999, Connecticut:  Alfonso Johnson is sentenced to five years in prison for helping a local white supremacist group rob an apartment in Manchester, Connecticut.  Interestingly, Johnson is African-American.

October 19, 1999, Florida:  John J. Drinkwater of Juno Beach, Florida, is indicted on charges of mail fraud, filing false tax returns, corrupt interference with the IRS and bankruptcy fraud, for allegedly attempting to pay various creditors with bogus “comptrollers warrants” obtained from the Montana Freemen, as well as engaging in various tax evasion strategies.

October 20, 1999, South Dakota:  Meade County resident Gene Curtis Ullman is charged with sending bogus legal documents to threaten or harass Eighth Circuit Court Judge Warren Johnson and Magistrate Rod Oswald. 

October 21, 1999, Colorado:  Gerald W. McKeel of Glenwood Springs is arrested after caught carrying a loaded pistol in his backpack while at the Colorado Capitol building attempting to see Governor Bill Owens.  McKeel was a self-declared “sovereign citizen” who was apparently involved in a legal battle over rights to see his grandchildren.

October 21, 1999, Texas, Nevada, Arizona:  Benjamin Franklin Cook (see above) is arrested in the buffet line of a Las Vegas casino and jailed for return to Texas.

October 24, 1999, Montana:  Shad Greenup, son of Montana militia leader Calvin Greenup of Darby, Montana, is arrested following a high speed chase.   Police pulling Greenup’s truck over for a traffic violation discovered Greenup had an outstanding warrant in Oregon, upon which point Greenup fled the scene.  He is charged with reckless driving, eluding pursuit, running red lights and stop signs, and endangerment.  In 1995, Greenup pled guilty to felony criminal endangerment for a confrontation involving his father and law enforcement officers in Darby.  He pled guilty in 1996 to attacking his 17-year old wife.

October 20, 1999, Michigan:  Militia leader and shortwave broadcaster Mark Koernke of Webster Township is sentenced to 80 days in jail on one count of absconding and forfeiting bond, but will not have to serve jail time, because he had already served that amount in jail; the charge could have brought a maximum of four years in prison.  Koernke had been arrested for allegedly assaulting a process server (the charges were later dropped) but in May 1998 had fled rather than make a court appearance.  He was caught in July 1998.

October 25, 1999, Illinois:  Tax protester and Posse Comitatus activist Joseph Komes of Lake in the Hills is sentenced to 30 months in probation for a state tax evasion conviction dating from 1996.  Komes declared himself a non-taxpayer in 1989.  Apparently Komes came to an arrangement with authorities to pay back taxes he owed, although officials could not discuss details because of confidentiality requirements.

October 25, 1999, Pennsylvania:  Bowmansville resident Howard E. Groff, former president of a profitable snack food company, is sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for attempting to pay his $2.6 million income tax bill with a bogus check obtained from the Montana Freemen.  Groff had sent them a bogus check for $4.4 million and asked for a refund of the excess amount; he also issued bogus checks to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, to Lancaster County, and to two local banks.  Groff pled guilty to fraud in June.

October 26, 1999, Oregon:  Roderick Kennedy and Leslie Earl Bennett are arrested on aggravated murder and robbery charges in Corvallis, Oregon.  The two are suspected of the murder of Enrique Sanchez, beaten to death on October 18.  Corrections officials confirm that Kennedy, a former prisoner, is covered with white supremacist tattoos, including the word “Hitler,” a swastika, and the term “white pride.”

October 27, 1999, Washington:  Joann Kay Peterson is arrested in Moyie Springs, Idaho, suspected of having killed her son-in-law in 1991.  Peterson, a long-time anti-government activist, was found to possess a MAC-11 machine gun when federal agents searched her home.  Peter L. Zeihen was murdered in 1991 at close range with a shotgun while he was parking his car.  Other suspects are being investigated as well.

October 28, 1999, Washington:  Richard Eldon Peters of Spokane Valley, a convicted tax protester, is arrested at his home after a three-count indictment is issued surrounding a home invasion and murder in 1998.  In June 1998 Clyde Overdorff, who had testified against Peters at his trial, was in his home when it was entered by Timothy Tyler and John L. Calvert.  The two shot Overdorff in the abdomen; Overdorff in turn killed Tyler.  Calvert is also indicted on three charges of retaliating against a witness.  Authorities claim that Peters recruited the two others to attack Overdorff.

October 31, 1999, Colorado, Utah:  The decomposed body of Alan “Monte” Pilon is found in remote southeastern Utah, apparently having shot himself in the head.  Pilon is one of three fugitives who fled into the wilderness to evade authorities after killing a police officer in Cortez, Colorado, in May 1998.  One fugitive killed himself shortly thereafter as authorities closed in on his position; Pilon appears to have killed himself in the same time period.  The third fugitive, Jason Wayne McVean, may still be alive.

 

NOVEMBER

November 2, 1999, Connecticut:  In Norfolk, Connecticut, an attempt to firebomb the Congregation Beth El synagogue is prevented when someone spotted the two men attempting the deed.  Two Molotov cocktails are recovered, but police are unable to make any arrests. 

November 2, 1999, Arizona:  In Kingman, Arizona, Wayne Eugene Brashear is arrested for possession of chemicals and equipment for manufacturing methamphetamine, and possession of weapons in a drug offense.  Police searching the extremist’s home as part of an ongoing drug investigation discovered two and a half pounds of C-4 explosive, a hand grenade, and other bomb-making materials, as well as a number of guns.

November 4, 1999, Nebraska:  Neo-Nazi Gary Lauck, back in the United States after four years in prison in Germany for spreading Neo-Nazi literature, is arrested on a charge that he lied about his past on a gun permit application.  Lauck had answered “no” to a question asking about any conviction for a crime punishable by one year or more in prison.

November 4, 1999, California:  In Los Angeles, white supremacist Randall Lee Rojas is convicted for a racially motivated murder of a homeless black man in 1995.  Rojas, and two other co-defendants, are members of the Nazi Low Riders, a white supremacist group that originated in prisons.  Rojas is convicted of murder, committing a hate crime, acting in concert with other attackers and personally using a deadly weapon.  According to the prosecution, one of the attackers wanted to kill the victim in order to “earn” a lightning bolt tattoo.

November 4, 1999, North Carolina:  Robert David Guffey and son Anthony Ray Guffey, both of Rutherford County, are arrested after police find homemade pipe bombs, stolen property, and drugs while searching their house.  Police also find a collection of Ku Klux Klan material.

November 5, 1999, California:  Nazi Low Rider member Ritch Briant is convicted of first-degree murder for the slaying of a homeless black man (see above).  He faces life in prison without parole.

November 5, 1999, Florida, Colorado:  James Kenneth Gluck is arrested in Tampa, Florida, for threatening Colorado judges.  Searching his home, police find the materials needed to make ricin, one of the most deadly biological poisons known.  Gluck wrote a letter to a Colorado Court of appeals judge, threatening to wage biological warfare on a county justice center.  He is held without bail on a charge of communicating threats against court officers.

November 9, 1999, California:  Jessica Colwell is convicted in Los Angeles of involuntary manslaughter for her role in the murder of a homeless black man (see above).  Colwell was member of the Nazi Low Riders.  In 1995 she was allegedly among a group of members who threatened to blow up a Lancaster coffee shop for serving blacks.

November 10, 1999, Idaho:  Six southern Idaho residents are indicted on charges of using fictitious sight drafts in order to pay debts and purchase vehicles.   Charged are Jerry Boone, Kathy Boone, Cindy Pahl, Lester Moffet, Jonathan Clapier and Hyla Clapier.  The six were engaging in a popular extremist scheme sweeping the country in 1999 called variously “redemption” or “accept for value.”

November 15, 1999, Tennessee:  Rossville police arrest John Clem after firefighters responding to a couch fire reported seeing weapons in Clem’s apartment.  Police find grenades and a homemade sawed-off shotgun in his apartment.  Clem enjoyed setting off explosives, usually at a friend’s farm, and before an explosion injured his hand in 1994, he reportedly wanted to join a militia group.  However, it is unknown if he ever actually joined one.

November 18, 1999, Texas:  Shawn Allen Berry is convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison by a jury in Jasper, Texas.  Berry and two white supremacists chained African-American James Byrd, Jr., to the back of a pickup truck and dragged him to death in 1998.  The other two defendants, John William King and Lawrence Russell Brewer, were convicted and sentenced to die in separate trials.

November 19, 1999, Florida:  Former Florida leader of the World Church of the Creator Jules Fettu is sentenced to five years in prison for attacking a Cuban-American man and his son outside a rock concert in 1997.  The two had refused to accept racist fliers that Fettu and other members were passing out.

November 22, 1999, California:  Nazi Low Rider member Ritch Briant is sentenced to life in prison without parole for murdering a homeless black man (see above).

November 23, 1999, California:  Nazi Low Rider member Randall Lee Rojas is sentenced to life in prison without parole for murdering a homeless black man (see above).

November 23, 1999, Indiana:  Two teenagers, Jason Powell, 19, and Alex Witmer, 18, are charged with murder in an allegedly racially motivated drive-by shooting of a black teenager in Elkhart, Indiana.  The two confessed to police that Powell was seeking admission to the Aryan Brotherhood, a prison gang, wanting to “earn” a spider web tattoo for having killed a minority.  Witmer, a skinhead, claimed affiliation with the Aryan Brotherhood.  The victim, Sasezley Richardson, 19, was bringing diapers for his girlfriend’s baby when he was shot in the head.  He died three days later.

November 24, 1999, California:  Nazi Low Rider member Jessica Colwell is sentenced to nine years in prison for her role in the murder of a homeless black man (see above).

November 22, 1999, California:  A jury finds Blaine Applin, leader of a survivalist cultlike group in the San Diego area known as the Gatekeepers, guilty of conspiracy, attempted murder of a peace officer, assault with a semi-automatic weapon, auto theft and seventeen robbery-related counts. 

 

DECEMBER

December 1, 1999, California, Washington:  A federal grand jury hands down an indictment against white supremacist Buford Furrow for his attack on a Jewish community center in August.  The 16-count indictment charges Furrow with one count of murder, six counts of civil rights violations and nine weapons charges.  Furrow could potentially face the death penalty.

December 2, 1999, Colorado:  In Pueblo, Colorado, a jury deadlocks in a high-profile case involving a white supremacist, Nathan Thill, who allegedly killed an immigrant at a bus stop in Denver because he was black.  Jurors agree that Thill is guilty of attempted murder, assault and ethnic intimidations—charges that could send him to prison for up to 38 years.  However, jurors cannot decide whether Thill was guilty of first or second degree murder.  Thill’s mental health is a major issue during the trial.  A new trial is set for February 2000.

December 4, 1999, California:  Two militia members are arrested in Sacramento, charged with allegedly planning to blow up a liquid propane storage complex in Sacramento County, apparently hoping the government would declare martial law in response.  The suspects, Kevin Ray Patterson and Charles Dennis Kiles, reportedly members of the San Joaquin County Militia, are initially charged only with numerous weapons violations.  Kiles was convicted in 1992 for possession of illegal weapons and silencers.  Patterson’s activities including participating in surveillance activities on the Yellowstone County Jail in Billings, Montana, in 1998, in what authorities believe was a foiled attempt to help the Montana Freemen escape.

December 6, 1999, Nevada:  Four white supremacists are arrested in Reno, and warrants issued for two others, following a firebombing of a Jewish synagogue.  Arrested are Christopher Hampton, Scott Hudson, Joshua Kudlacek and an unnamed juvenile woman.  Warrants are also out for Daniel McIntosh and Carl DeAmicus.  The suspects range in age from 17 to 39.  The synagogue, Temple Emanu El, had been attacked twice before in 1999, although in apparently unrelated incidents. 

December 7, 1999, Florida:  Sixty-six year old Wanza Webb receives three years in jail for tax evasion activities.  Webb, a tax protester who owed nearly $100,000 in back taxes and penalties, helped teach an Orlando-area dentist how to evade taxes (albeit unsuccessfully).  Webb’s son, Gene Webb, is a former Longwood police officer who has also served time in prison for tax protest activities.

December 7, 1999, California:  The first federal prosecution of a hate crime assault case in Orange County comes to an end when white supremacist Kevin Timothy Dale, accused of taking part in the beating of an Asian man in 1995, makes a plea agreement which will cause him to face a maximum sentence of only ten years in prison.

December 8, 1999, Florida:  Militia leader Donald Beauregard is arrested on charges of plotting to rob National Guard armories to steal explosives to blow up transmission towers and power lines.  Beauregard, leader of a militia group in Pinellas County and until recently a leader of the militia umbrella group known as the Southeastern States Alliance, faces a maximum of 55 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine if convicted on all charges.

December 8, 1999, Nevada, California:  White supremacists Daniel McIntosh and Carl DeAmicis are arrested near Sacramento.  They are suspected of having been among six people who firebombed a Jewish synagogue in Reno, Nevada (see above).

December 9, 1999, Connecticut:  White supremacist Scott Palmer of Meriden is arrested on charges of breach of peace, threatening, intimidation based on bigotry or bias and having a weapon in a motor vehicle after he shouted slurs and threats at a union member walking a picket line outside a nursing home.  Five years ago Palmer received a probationary sentence for a similar incident.

December 10, 1999, Georgia:  Militia activist James Diver is arrested in Atlanta on weapons charges.  Diver, a convicted felon, was found in possession of three weapons, including a semiautomatic assault rifle with a flash suppressor, a 12-gauge shotgun and a semiautomatic handgun.  Diver had previously lived with Don Beauregard, the Florida militia leader arrested earlier in the month (see above), but there was apparently no direct connection between the arrests.

December 16, 1999, Pennsylvania:  Ku Klux Klan leader C. Edward Foster is charged with burning down his former residence while he was out of state at a Klan rally.  Foster is charged with one count of arson, and a count each of solicitation to commit arson and insurance fraud.  The house was owned by Foster’s ex-wife.

December 17, 1999, Florida:  Orlando-area dentist Milton McIlwain is sentenced to twenty-seven months in prison on tax-related charges.  McIlwain was tutored in tax protest ideology by Wanda Webb (see above), and transferred more than $1 million to bogus trusts in order to conceal his income and assets.

December 19, 1999, Colorado:  White supremacist Nathan Thill agrees to plead guilty to first-degree murder in the death of an African immigrant (see above) in order to avoid the possibility of the death penalty.  A jury had earlier deadlocked on the charge and a retrial was scheduled.  The next day he will be sentenced to life plus 32 years in prison.

December 19, 1999, Ohio:  Dayton-area militia leader Darrin Day is arrested after barricading himself in a bedroom of a house he shared with his mother and brother.  Day reportedly had an argument with his mother and went for a firearm.  When police arrived he was barricaded in his room.  Eventually subdued, he is arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated menacing and two counts of domestic violence.

December 22, 1999, Ohio, Florida:  Batavia, Ohio, resident Lynne R. Kirkman, 58, was arrested after found hiding in his parents’ garage near Pensacola, Florida, on 19 counts of using sham legal process, a charge designed to combat illegal sovereign citizen activities.  Kirkman repeatedly filed bogus liens on judges, prosecutors and other officials after he was given a traffic citation.

caDecember 26, 1999, Texas:  Curtis Milton Hartin and Joseph Grey are arrested by Texas state troopers in Anderson County on charges of possessing illegal weapons, unlawfully carrying weapons, resisting arrest and assault on a Texas peace officer.  After being stopped by police for a plate violation, they were found to have a number of weapons in their car, including a Mini14, handguns, and assault rifles.  Grey allegedly tried to grab a state trooper’s weapon; thus the assault charge.  The two are allegedly associated with anti-government activists near Maybank, Texas.

December 28, 1999, Texas:  American Airlines mechanic Jere Wayne Haney is arraigned on a state charge of possession of explosive components after a 50-pound bag of ammonium nitrate was found in his Grapevine, Texas, apartment.   Police also find a “fairly large quantity” of white supremacist and anti-government literature, as well as a dozen weapons and 62 boxes of ammunition.

December 30, 1999, Wyoming:  A plea bargain results in two consecutive life sentences with no chance for parole or appeal for Aaron McKinney, convicted in the October 1998 slaying of gay college student Matthew Shepard.  Shepard’s parents intercede in the sentencing, asking the court not to impose a death penalty on the man who murdered their son, saying that they wanted to show mercy to someone who refused to show any mercy.  In April, Shepard’s other slayer, Russell Henderson, pled guilty in a similar arrangement.

December 31, 1999, California:  Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies arrest two white supremacists following the discovery of a cache of pipe bombs.  Arrested are Gary Drake and Brian Hogan.  Police responding to a nuisance call found thirteen pipe bombs in the home of Drake’s father.  Nearly ten years ago, both men were convicted in a firebombing of a high school football stadium and a building across the street from it.  Drake is reportedly a member of the Peckerwoods, a white supremacist group with prison gang ties, while Hogan is suspected of being a follower of the group.

December 31, 1999:  The world does not end as a result of the Y2K virus.

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