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South Dakota-Based Militia Leader, Michael D. Bridge Jr., Faces Drug Charges

Tri-States Militia leader Michael D. Bridge Jr. was arrested with $2,100 in cash after selling an ounce of amphetamines; he now faces up to 20 years in prison.

A leader who once described his South Dakota organization as "the average Joe militia" faces federal charges of possessing and selling amphetamines — a business the man told authorities he was running in order to fund his Tri-States Militia.

Prosecutors say Michael D. Bridge Jr., 41, was arrested with $2,100 in cash after delivering an ounce of the drug to a woman last December. Investigators found another ounce at his home in Rapid City, S.D. If convicted of the single count of possession of amphetamine with intent to distribute, Bridge faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

In the months after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, Bridge became well-known locally as the spokesman for the Tri-States Militia, an umbrella group for militiamen. He described the group as "pretty tame," saying it stood for "God, family and country."

Some officials say that despite Bridge's statement that he was funding the militia with drug profits, he actually may have kept the money for himself.

In any case, there has been a rise in the number of far-right extremists implicated in drug-dealing to raise money for the movement. Cash has long been a limiting factor for right-wing revolutionaries (see Underwriting the Radical Right).