Five members or associates of a militia group were arrested in Fairbanks, Alaska Thursday in connection with a plot to kidnap or kill state trooper and judges.
Francis “Schaeffer” Cox, Lonnie Vernon, Karen Vernon, Coleman Barney and Michael Anderson were all charged with conspiracy to conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, conspiracy to commit arson, third-degree misconduct involving weapons, first-degree hindering prosecution and tampering with evidence, according to KTUU.
Cox is known to be the leader of the Alaska Peacemakers Militia.
An investigation into the militia “revealed extensive plans to kidnap or kill Alaska State Troopers and a Fairbanks Judge,” according to an Alaska Department of Public Safety statement.
“Cox et. al. had conspired a plan to launch an attack on Alaska State Troopers and Court Judges. Investigation also revealed that extensive surveillance on troopers in the Fairbanks area had occurred, specifically on the locations of the homes for two Alaska State Troopers. Furthermore, Cox et. al. had acquired a large cache of weapons in order to carry out attacks against their targeted victims. Some of the weapons known to be in the cache are prohibited by state or federal law.”
An arrest warrant had previously been issued for Cox on a weapons charge.
In March, the militia leader had responded to an online “distress call,” where a fellow conspiracy theorist had claimed the police were conducting an illegal search of his house, according to Anchorage Press’ David Holthouse.
Cox, a self-declared “sovereign citizen,” had been charged with failing to notify law enforcement that he was carrying a concealed weapon upon arriving on the scene.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) explains that sovereign citizens believe that “hey — not judges, juries, law enforcement or elected officials — get to decide which laws to obey and which to ignore.”
While establishing his militia last March, Cox reportedly told a crowd of about 150 members that they had a duty to spill blood to protect their rights.
“[The government] doesn’t operate under the rule of law, they operate under the rule of force,” Cox said. “My greatest fear is the only time they are going to hear us is when we speak their language.”
“If there was a gun ban in the city of Fairbanks, that’s an act of war. And it would have to be met with war. And we are prepared to do that, we won’t back down on that principal. We would spill blood before we let that happen.”