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Additional Charges Filed in Alaska Militia Case

By Bill Morlin on November 23, 2011 - 8:58 am, Posted in Militias

Heavily armed members of the Alaska Peacemaker Militia, equipped with live grenades and assault rifles, stopped private citizens, demanded identifications and prevented some from traveling to their homes and jobs, a new indictment alleges.

The indictment includes serious additional federal charges against militia leader Francis Schaeffer Cox and commanders Coleman L. Barney and Lonnie G. Vernon. Additionally, the new charging document also provides expanded details about how well supplied and organized the militia group had become before FBI agents arrested Cox and the others in March.

For example, the militia group’s sophistication with illegal munitions was at the point that its leaders were debating the value of buying illegal grenades with two-second fuses versus those with eight-second fuses, the indictment says.

And on one maneuver, while violating the Constitution and stopping unsuspecting Alaska residents at gunpoint, members of the secret militia were equipped with body armor, semi-automatic rifles and grenade launchers loaded with deadly “hornets nest” grenades.

Cox, Barney and Vernon were arming their Peacemaker militia in the collective belief that soon the group “would be compelled to take up arms against the government” or take over in the event of a government collapse, the superseding indictment filed last week says.

“In preparation for this eventuality, the Alaska Assembly Post established a military arm, a legal arm, its own judiciary and its own monetary currency,” it alleges.

“The illegal firearms, machine guns, destructive devices and firearms silencers were possessed with the intent to thwart any effort by law enforcement from taking Cox into custody and … in furtherance of Cox’s believe that no governmental law, state or federal applied to him (because) of his status as a sovereign citizen,’’ it adds.

In November 2010, when Cox was scheduled for a television interview in North Pole, Alaska, his militia squad designed an “operational-tactical plan” to provide him security in the “belief that a federal and completely fictitious ‘hit team’ had been sent to Fairbanks to assassinate him,” the indictment says.

As commander of the armed security detail, Barney wore body armor and carried an assault rifle equipped with a 37mm grenade launcher armed with a live “Hornets Nest” grenade. Its anti-personnel projectiles were “capable of inflicting lethal injuries,” the indictment says.

While Cox was doing the television interview, his militia security force was outdoors, nearby, trespassing on private property and conducting patrols. The militia team “constructed a vehicular funneling point in order to stop and inspect vehicles and (obtain) identities of private citizens.” The militia members “stopped private citizens without lawful authority under the force of arms,” the indictment says.

Also in November 2010, Cox paid for 16,000 newspaper advertisements that said the laws of the state’s judiciary “have been fraudulently displaced by a privately owned for-profit corporation deceptively named the ‘Alaska Court system.’” The ad said the Alaska court system and the Alaska Bar Association were “under criminal investigation,” and said Alaska citizens facing civil judgments could learn how to have them voided by attending a meeting sponsored by the Peacemaker militia.

The following month, Cox, Barney and their militia’s Alaska Assembly Post organized a pseudo-legal “common law” court to put Cox on trial for Alaska law violations he faced or had pleaded guilty to in state court. The “common law” jury, which included Barney and Vernon, quickly acquitted Cox of everything.

Afterwards, at a December 2010 court hearing, Cox told Alaska District Court Judge Jane F. Kauvar that neither the state court system nor the state government “had any jurisdiction over him,” and he boasted that his militia “had the Alaska State Troopers outmanned and outgunned,” the indictment says.

Cox failed to appear for his next court hearing, becoming a fugitive who sought refuge in the homes of Vernon and Barney.

Last February, the indictment alleges Cox instructed Vernon and another person, who isn’t identified, to travel to Anchorage to “acquire hand grenades” and the highly dangerous plastic explosive known as C-4. While in Anchorage, Vernon “met with others in an effort to obtain grenade bodies and approximately 50 grenade fuses,” later discussing with Cox where to create “weapons caches” for their militia munitions.

At one meeting with Barney, Cox expressed a desire for grenades with eight-second fuses and asked for grenade powder stronger than the explosive material he had obtained previously. Later, after ordering a handgun equipped with an illegal silencer, Cox attempted to order 25 grenades with eight-second fuses from the same supplier, the indictment alleges.

Cox was the militia bargain shopper. He was looking for a deal in his grenade purchases and asked about a “volume discount,” the indictment says. Cox said if the supplier could get the price down to $70 per grenade, he would buy as many as he could get his hands on, according to the new charging documents.

On March 10, while taking possession of the silencer-equipped pistols they had ordered, Cox, Barney and Vernon also took possession of eight hand grenades, not knowing they were inert, and certainly not knowing they would be arrested moments later by FBI agents. Arraignments on the new charges, which likely will push back trial dates for the defendants, are set for next week in Anchorage.

  •, Aron

    Thank you very much, Ruslan. I really appreciate the help. And I’ll pass on your thoughts to my friend.

    And Jeronimus, I think you should be more concerned about the satellites trained on YOUR OWN house. I wouldn’t want to see you locked up for sedition, ha ha ha.

  • Jeronimus

    Hey, another bite at the apple! If one set of charges doesn’t stick, just make up some more!

    I bet there are spy satellite videos showing Schaeffer Cox spitting on the sidewalk and littering, if these charges don’t stick.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    I’m sorry I didn’t see this post sooner, Aron. First I would tell your friend that these militias have been predicting some kind of martial law crackdown for as long as 20-40 years in some cases, and all the while it has been “just around the corner.”

    Second, these groups tend to be rife with defective types. This is a natural element of fringe groups. They attract people who are outcasts, and on the other side of the equation, they tolerate these people because they need numbers.

    Lastly, and most importantly, if the US military did ever turn on the citizenry, most of these militia types would be rounded up in the dead of night while they were sleeping. If they even got the chance to “fight”, it wouldn’t be much of a fight at all. As I often put it, “Good luck taking down those predator drones, Apaches, and Abrams tanks with your converted Mini-14.

  •, Aron

    I dislike saying this, but there is absolutely nothing illegal with ‘hornets’ nest’ rounds for grenade launchers.

    They are not in fact, grenades, explosive or otherwise, as the article implies. Instead, they are a cluster of (usually) eight 0.22LR barrels contained in a single unit loaded into the launcher. As such they fire eight small rimfire cartridges. Not grenades.

    That being said, the grenade launcher itself would require a Destructive Device license, which I doubt Barney possessed. As such, the launcher, though not the HN round, was illegal.

    I hope that cleared things up.

    (That being said, I am currently trying to dissuade a friend of mine, who happens to be a rabid Ron Paul supporter, from joining one of his local militias in Ohio. Can anyone recommend where I might turn for help in this endeavor? I very much doubt he would engage in seditious behavior, but I don’t want to see anything unpleasant befall him. Thank you.)

  • Jonas Rand

    Those are some rather extraordinary claims, for which some independently confirmed evidence would have to be.established before I believe any of it. Why did it take so long to fibd out? What new lead did the judiciary get that led to all this being discovered?

    That doesn’t mean I would put it past a militia to do such a thing, however. I am just saying that it gives me doubtful feelings for them to just come up with an assload of new evidence weeks after they were told that most of the old evidence was inadmissable.