Terror From the Right: Plots, Conspiracies and Racist Rampages Since Oklahoma City (Part XI)
March 10, 2011
Six members of the antigovernment Alaska Peacemakers Militia, including its leader, Francis Schaeffer Cox, 28, are arrested and charged with plotting to kill or kidnap state troopers and a Fairbanks judge. The group already has a large cache of weapons, including a .50-caliber machine gun, grenades and a grenade launcher. Cox earlier identified himself as a “sovereign citizen.” Cox is convicted in June 2012 on nine counts, including conspiring to kill a judge and law enforcement officials. He is sentenced in January 2013 to almost 26 years in federal prison. Lonnie Vernon, 56, and his wife, Karen, 66, plead guilty in August to charges they plotted to kill a federal judge and an IRS agent involved in a tax case against them. The Vernons are also sentenced in January 2013. Lonnie receives almost 25 years in federal prison while his wife receives 12 years. Another member, Coleman Barney, 38, is found guilty of weapons charges and sentenced in September 2012 to five years in federal prison.
May 14, 2011
Three masked men break into the Madrasah Islamiah, an Islamic center in Houston, and douse prayer rugs with gasoline in an apparent attempt to burn the center down. Images of the men are captured on surveillance cameras, but they are not identified. The fire is put out before doing major damage.
May 25, 2011
A man with a long history of menacing abortion clinics is arrested on weapons charges after he accidentally shoots a pistol through the door of a Madison, Wis., motel room. Ralph Lang, 63, tells police he planned to kill a doctor and workers at a nearby Planned Parenthood clinic. Lang is sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2013.
August 24, 2011
Cody Seth Crawford, 24, is arrested on federal charges accusing him of the Nov. 28, 2010, arson of the Salman Alfarisi Islamic Center in Corvallis, Ore. The firebombing occurred two days after a former Oregon State University student was arrested in a plot to detonate a car bomb during Portland's annual tree-lighting. Crawford had ranted about Muslims and described himself as a Christian warrior after the arson. In early 2014, Crawford was still awaiting trial.
October 5, 2011
White supremacist ex-convict David "Joey" Pedersen, 31, and his girlfriend, Holly Ann Grigsby, 24, are arrested in California after a murderous rampage in three states. Grigsby tells police that she and Pedersen "were on their way to Sacramento to kill more Jews." The first killed were Pedersen's father and stepmother in Everett, Wash. Another man was killed in Lafayette, Ore., because the pair thought he was Jewish. An African-American man was found shot to death in Eureka, Calif. Pederson earlier served time for threatening to kill the federal judge who handled the Ruby Ridge case of white separatist Randy Weaver. Pederson pleads guilty in March 2012 to killing his father and stepmother, and receives two life sentences. He still faces federal charges in all four murders. Grigsby pleads not guilty and awaits trial.
November 1, 2011
Four members of an unnamed North Georgia militia are arrested in an alleged plot to bomb federal buildings, attack Atlanta and other cities with deadly ricin, and murder law enforcement officials. The men – Frederick Thomas, 73, Samuel J. Crump, 68, Dan Roberts, 67, and Ray H. Adams, 65 – allegedly discussed "taking out" a list of officials to "make the country right again" and scouted buildings in Atlanta to bomb. Authorities say the plot was inspired by an online novel, Absolved, written by longtime Alabama militiaman Mike Vanderboegh. Thomas, the accused ringleader, and Roberts plead guilty in April 2012 to charges of conspiring to possess explosives and firearms. Each is sentenced in August 2012 to five years in federal prison for conspiring to obtain an unregistered explosive device. Crump and Adams are convicted in January 2014 of conspiring to produce a toxic agent to poison government officials.
December 10, 2011
Four Army soldiers at Fort Stewart, Ga., later identified as members of the terror group Forever Enduring, Always Ready (FEAR), are arrested in the murder of 19-year-old former soldier and FEAR member Michael Roark and his 17-year-old girlfriend, Tiffany York. The two were apparently killed because FEAR leader Isaac Aguigui, 22, feared Roark would talk about the group’s plans to take over the Army base, overthrow the government, assassinate a future president, and blow up a dam and poison the apple crop in the state of Washington. Pfc. Aguigui funded the group, buying $87,000 in weapons and a large amount of drugs with a $500,000 insurance payment he received after the death of his pregnant wife. Pfc. Michael Burnett pleads guilty and agrees to testify against his FEAR comrades. In 2012, seven more people are arrested in connection with FEAR’s activities. In April 2013, the Army charges Aguigui with killing his wife, whose death was initially ruled accidental, and their unborn child. In July 2013, Aguigui pleads guilty in the murders of York and Roark, and is sentenced to life in prison. Two other soldiers, Pvt. Christopher Salmon and Sgt. Anthony Peden, are expected to be tried in the double murder in 2014. A court martial for Aguigui in his family’s death was also expected.
April 17, 2012
Joseph Benjamin Thomas and Samuel James Johnson of Mendota Heights, Minn., are indicted on federal weapons and drug charges after a probe of their alleged plans to create an “Aryan Liberation Movement” and attack minorities, leftists and government officials. Prosecutors say Thomas planned to attack the Mexican consulate in St. Paul with a truck loaded with flaming barrels of oil and gasoline. Johnson, a former leader of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement with prior convictions for armed crimes, was scouting for a training compound in Illinois or Minnesota and seeking to recruit others into his group, court papers say. In the end, Johnson pleads guilty in 2012 to being a felon in possession of weapons and is sentenced to 15 years in prison. Thomas pleads to intent to distribute 50 grams of methamphetamine. In April 2013, he is sentenced to 10 years in prison.
June 17, 2012
Anson Chi, 33, is seriously injured when he detonates a bomb in an effort to destroy an Atmos Energy natural gas pipeline in Plano, Texas. Chi is an avid tax protester who has posted numerous videos, statements and rants on the Internet about the alleged evils of the Federal Reserve, the IRS, President Obama and the government. He had been a fugitive since 2009, when he violated probation in California on a weapons charge. Chi pleads guilty in 2013 to possessing an unregistered explosive and malicious use of an explosive, and is sentenced to 22 years in prison.
August 5, 2012
Neo-Nazi skinhead Wade Michael Page, 40, opens fire with a 9 mm handgun at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., killing six and critically wounding three, including a police officer. Wounded by police, Page then shoots and kills himself at the scene. A U.S. Army veteran who was discharged in 1998 for “patterns of misconduct,” Page was a “patched” member of the Northern Hammerskins, a chapter of the Hammerskin Nation, a violent, racist skinhead group. He was also a fixture on the white power music scene who played in the band End Apathy and several others.
August 16, 2012
Seven people with ties to the antigovernment “sovereign citizens” movement allegedly ambush and murder Louisiana sheriff’s deputies Brandon Nielsen, 34, and Jeremy Triche, 27. The attack comes in a trailer park near New Orleans, where the deputies pursued suspects following the shooting and wounding of another deputy working as an off-duty security guard at an oil refinery. Those arrested include the group’s leader, Terry Lyn Smith, 44, Smith’s wife, Chanel Skains, and his sons, Derrik Smith and Brian Smith. Others are Brittany Keith, Kyle David Joekel and Teniecha Bright. Brian Smith is charged with first-degree murder and the others with related charges. The group, which traveled the country doing construction work, possess a stockpile of weapons. Its members have outstanding warrants in Nebraska, Tennessee and Louisiana.