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Bail denied.Coleman Barney, Schaffer Cox and Lonnie Vernon are charged conspiring to acquire illegal weapons in the form of handgrenades and silencers. In connection with this investigation, the evidence submitted by the United States establishes that Barney and Cox, in acquiring these items, already possessed and or had immediate access to a cache of firearms which included a fully automatic Sten machine gun, hand grenade bodies and fuses, a pistol/silencer combination, 37 mm grenade launchers, parts to build 100 37mm grenades for those launchers, as well as a belt-fed .30 caliber Browning sub-machine gun along with a enough other small arms and ammunition to supply a small army.
Barney and Cox also showed up to an illegal arms sale wearing body armor, armed with loaded pistols (in Barney’s case, two pistols) and with Barney carrying $5,000 in cash. Vernon and his wife, for their part, were arrested after purchasing a pistol/silencer combination, and the six inert hand grenades. In their vehicle state investigators discovered an SKS 7.62 rifle, a Hi-Point .380 handgun, a Sig-Arms .223 rifle, and a Mag pouch with five 7.62 clips. Vernon was armed with a Springfield .45 and 3 magazines, Karen Vernon possessed a Glock .357 pistol with a laser grip, magazine and holster. In their residence investigators discovered another fully automatic Sten machine gun, along with other firearms, tactical vests, body armor, gas masks and ammunition too numerous to list.
Defense lawyers are asking for a federal weapons trial related to the “241” murder conspiracy case to be moved from Anchorage to Fairbanks, citing perceived cultural differences between Alaska’s largest and second-largest cities and the expense of transporting witnesses
In a brief filed Monday, Barney’s attorney, Tim Dooley, said the venue should be changed for practical reasons because most potential witnesses live in the Fairbanks area and because the alleged crimes reportedly occurred in Fairbanks.
He also said Anchorage is an alien environment for the defendants and that holding the trial there would violate principles of their constitutional right to a trial by a jury of people from the district and state where the crime allegedly occurred. He noted that people from Fairbanks refer to Anchorage as “Los Anchorage” and say the best thing about the city is that it is only an hour from Alaska.
OCTOBER 16, 2011
Foreclosure approved in Alaska tax protest case
The government has received the go-ahead to foreclose on real estate owned by a Salcha couple who owe $180,000, plus interest and penalties, and are in jail awaiting trial on charges of conspiring to kill an IRS agent and a federal judge.
FAIRBANKS -- The government has received the go-ahead to foreclose on real estate owned by a Salcha couple who owe $180,000, plus interest and penalties, and are in jail awaiting trial on charges of conspiring to kill an IRS agent and a federal judge.
U.S. District Judge Lonny Suko has issued the order against Lonnie and Karen Vernon, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported. The couple challenged the federal government's right to collect taxes, but lost. In March they were accused with three others of plotting to kill the former judge and the IRS agent working on their case.
The Fairbanks North Star Borough appraises the couple's 1,564-square-foot home and 4.5-acre parcel of land at nearly $190,000.
After sale costs, auction proceeds pay the borough first, then the federal government. A borough notice in March said Karen Vernon had a debt of $2,718.
Although the Vernons are jailed, Suko's order set a deadline of Oct. 20 for them to vacate the home and said they'd forfeit property that hasn't been removed by then.
The tax fight dates to 1999. The IRS accused the Vernons of not paying federal taxes for 1996 and for the years 2000 through 2003. The initial judge, Ralph Beistline, and then Suko rejected their arguments.
Federal prosecutors say the Vernons' anger toward Beistline spawned a plot to kill him, along with a tax agent working on their case. Their arrests, along with those of Schaeffer Cox, Coleman Barney and Michael O. Anderson, followed hundreds of hours of secret surveillance by the FBI, prosecutors said.
All have pleaded not guilty. Trials are scheduled in February and March.
The dramatic arrest of a defiant and self-professed sovereign citizen from Alaska made headlines in March when investigators revealed they believed the charismatic young man was poised to kidnap members of law enforcement, a state judge and their family members. Prosecutors had more than 100 hours of recordings to back up their case.
But on Monday, a superior court judge in Fairbanks ruled those recordings can’t be used at trial.
"Any electronic recording of a conversation in which Cox participated, whether the recording is audio or video, is inadmissible," Judge David Stewart wrote in his two-page order.
FAIRBANKS - The state of Alaska dismissed all charges against five Fairbanks-area defendants in the “241” murder conspiracy case and released one from jail Friday. Federal charges against the other four defendants including militia leader Schaeffer Cox remain in place.
The dismissals follow a recent court ruling that keeps prosecutors from using secret FBI recordings as evidence that were made without a search warrant. The charges cannot be re-filed in state court, Assistant District Attorney Dwayne McConnell said. The dismissed charges include many of the most serious allegations, including conspiracy to commit murder. State prosecutors had alleged all five defendants were participating in a plan called “241” to kill Alaska State Troopers and state court officials.
The suppression of the secret recordings in state court does not affect the federal case because the U.S. Constitution does not protect privacy rights as broadly as the Alaska Constitution.
“Alaska is one of only a handful of states that protects this requirement of a search warrant (in this kind of situation),” said McConnell, an assistant Alaska Attorney General.
Stewart, the Alaska judge, also said in his written ruling that the decision would most likely not affect the federal case.
For Ken Thesing, a member of Cox’s Peacemaker’s Militia, the state dismissed misdemeanor charges of simulating a legal process, the rarely prosecuted crime of submitting deceptive paperwork to the court system. Prosecutors had said Thesing filed paperwork telling a state judge he needed to come to the Denny’s trial.
After last month's victory in Alaska State Court, jailed militia leader Schaeffer Cox is looking for a second game-changing decision in federal court. After a judge ruled the warrantless FBI surveillance tapes of Cox and his associates were illegal under state law, the murder conspiracy and weapons case the state had brought against Cox fell apart within weeks after the ruling.
Now, Cox is trying to dismantle the federal weapons case against him on grounds it violates his rights to free speech and protection from the abuse of government authority.
U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler announced Friday that two Fairbanks men were indicted by a federal grand jury in Anchorage for possessing a grenade launcher and grenade, amounting to two additional federal weapons charges.
Coleman Barney, 36, and Francis Schaeffer Cox, 27, were charged in a superseding indictment that each carried a firearm in connection with a crime of violence.
The attorney for militia leader Schaeffer Cox filed court papers that accuse an FBI informant of inciting his client to plan violent attacks on the government.
Nelson Traverso also said in his brief filed Monday that the informant who infiltrated the militia took actions "analogous to kidnapping" to keep Cox in Alaska, according to Wednesday's Fairbanks Daily News-Miner ( http://bit.ly/vnGEhx).
In his brief, Traverso said Cox decided to leave the state in February rather than get into a confrontation with state authorities who had issued a warrant for his arrest on previous, unrelated charges.
belief that at some undetermined and unknown point in the future they would be
compelled to take up arms against the government, be sufficiently armed and equipped to
sustain a take-over of the “government” or become a new government in the event of a
“government collapse.” In preparation for this “eventuality”, COX used the Alaska
Assembly Post to establish a military arm, a legal arm, a separate judiciary and monetary
His attorney, M.J. Haden, suggested that Vernon might not have quite the mental capacity to understand what he was doing. He believes that extraterrestrial creatures are in Arizona, that the government has built a tunnel from Arizona to New Jersey to secretly transport illegal aliens, and that the government is selling children into child pornography rings, she said.
The judge ruled that Vernon had average intelligence even if he maintained a few odd ideas, and understood full well what he was doing when he made his statement.
Read more here: http://www.adn.com/2012/01/23/2279373/m ... rylink=cpy
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