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All Darren Wesley Huff wanted to do was arrest some county officials in Tennessee who refused to indict President Obama for using a fraudulent birth certificate. The problem is, that’s not really a criminal offense. And Huff had no authority anyway.
But he was a member of the Georgia Militia and the Oath Keepers, both antigovernment “Patriot” groups that see the federal government – and, presumably, Obama – as part of a global conspiracy to establish a socialistic, one-world government.
So, intent on making a “citizen’s arrest,” on April 20, 2010, Huff set out from Dallas, Ga., in his pickup truck with a loaded Colt .45 and an assault rifle with 200 to 300 rounds of ammunition.
The cops were waiting. A bank manager had told the FBI that Huff had divulged a plan to take over the courthouse in Madisonville, Tenn., arrest some two dozen officials and prevent the trial of another man who had earlier attempted the same improbable feat. Huff was taken into custody by state police in Tennessee before ever reaching his target.
Today, a federal jury in Knoxville convicted him on a charge of carrying a firearm in interstate commerce with the intent to use it in a civil disorder. Huff, 41, faces up to five years in prison. The jury acquitted him of using a firearm in relation to another felony.
Huff told the jury last week that he was humiliated by the whole affair, because “my government has called me a potential domestic terrorist,” The Associated Press reported. He denied that he had threatened to take over the courthouse.
Huff did testify, however, that he sought to help Walter Fitzpatrick, a retired Navy commander who lives in Madisonville and is a leader in the Patriot group American Grand Jury (AGJ). Fitzpatrick had earlier been arrested when he tried to place a grand jury foreman under citizen’s arrest for failing to investigate Obama for fraud. The AGJ seeks to indict Obama for treason on the grounds that he is not a U.S. citizen.
At the time of his arrest, others in the Patriot movement wrote that Huff was a Christian Identity minister and also chaplain of the Georgia Militia, which announced on its website at the time that its chaplain (who remained unnamed) had been removed from office. Christian Identity is an anti-Semitic and racist theology.
Huff isn’t the only Oath Keeper to run afoul of the law.
Matthew Fairfield of North Olmsted, Ohio, was convicted in February 2010 for carrying concealed weapons and sentenced to 16 years in prison. Police found a cache of weapons and a napalm bomb stored over the garage at his house in the Cleveland suburb. Fairfield, 31, was president of a local Oath Keepers chapter, a prosecutor said.
And, in August, authorities in Texas apprehended Charles Alan Dyer, 31, following a nationwide manhunt that began when Dyer failed to appear in an Oklahoma court on charges of raping a 7-year-old girl. Three days before his Aug. 15 date in court, Dyer’s home in Stephens County, Okla., burned to the ground. In addition to the child rape charge, Dyer was accused of possessing an unregistered grenade launcher, one of three stolen from a California military base in a weapons shipment bound for Iraq.
The Oath Keepers group attempted to distance itself from the man it once considered its liaison with the U.S. Marine Corps. Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the two-year-old organization that encourages police officers and soldiers to disobey orders that may be unconstitutional, acknowledged the group’s contacts with Dyer.