Felon Kevin "KC" Lyndel Massey of "Rusty's Rangers," who ran a vigilante-style border patrol operation, sentenced to prison for firearms violations.
A Texas militia leader – part of a group that vowed to shoot or arrest anyone caught crossing into the United States from Mexico – will spend 41 months in federal prison after being convicted of being a felon in possession of firearms.
Kevin “KC” Lyndel Massey, 48, of Quinlan, Texas, was identified by authorities as a member of “Rusty’s Rangers” militia, also known as “Rusty’s Regulators.”
The rag-tag militia set up a base camp it called “Camp Lone Star” near Brownsville, Texas, in 2014 and ran a vigilante-style border patrol operation, looking for people illegally entering the United States.
On Aug. 31 of that year, U.S. Border Patrol agents conducting routine patrols came across Massey and another member of Rusty’s Rangers, John Frederick Foerster. A federal agent shot at, but did not hit Foerster when he initially refused to drop his firearm.
After that incident, agents searched Massey’s motel room and discovered 2,600 rounds of ammunition and ammonium nitrate and fuel which investigators said could have been combined to make a deadly improvised explosive device.
Because an actual bomb had not been assembled, Massey was not charged with illegal possession of those components. He was, however, charged with four counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, related to three handguns and a rifle found in his possession.
Foerster was charged with possession of two firearms. Both men couldn’t legally possess firearms because each had previous burglary convictions.
After he was arrested and indicted, Foerster was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. He pleaded guilty to a single count last March and is scheduled to be sentenced later this month.
Massey waived his right to a jury trial, choosing instead to have a bench trial before U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen. Massey was found guilty on all four counts on Sept. 30.
At trial, Massey and his attorney attempted without success to argue that the firearms charges should be dismissed because the defendant was only involved with intrastate possession of firearms. The federal charges are based on laws regulating interstate travel of firearms -- from the point of origin or importation to the seller to the firearm owner.
Massey claims “pure intrastate possession of a firearm cannot be regulated by the federal government of the United States due to constitutional limitations placed on the government by the Second and Tenth Amendments.
But federal prosecutors countered and the trial judge agreed that Massey’s state transfer argument had no relevance as the facts of the criminal case.
The trial judge concluded that Massey was indicted after a grand jury found probable cause to believe he was a felon who possessed weapons which previously traveled in interstate commerce or affected interstate commerce.