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Branch Davidians among those arrested in weapons raid

May 2, 1997

AURORA, Colo. (AP) _ Two men with ties to the Branch Davidians were among three people arrested in a house that contained what appeared to be explosive materials, the FBI said.

Ronald David Cole, one of those arrested Thursday, had distributed material outside the Denver federal courthouse on the first day of Timothy McVeigh’s trial in the Oklahoma City bombing.

McVeigh’s lead prosecutor, Joseph Hartzler, left the courthouse at the end of the day escorted by extra-heavy security _ 10 federal police bodyguards.

Prosecutors contend that McVeigh blew up the federal building in retaliation for the 1993 FBI raid near Waco, Texas, that left 81 Branch Davidians dead.

The three men were charged with possession and manufacture of illegal firearms after a search turned up explosive materials, FBI supervisor John H. Kundts said. The house outside Denver had been rented a month ago.

Cole, 27, identified himself on a Web page as commander of the ``Colorado First Light Infantry.″ Another suspect, Wallace Stanley Kennett, described himself as first officer. The third suspect was Kevin I. Terry, 24.

They were expected to appear before a U.S. magistrate today.

Kirk Lyons, a lawyer for Branch Davidians who survived the federal raid, said Cole and Kennett have ties to the Davidians, but were kept at a distance.

``They are kind of considered outsiders,″ Lyons said. ``The Davidians have always kept an arms length, although I think they like Wally and Ron.″

The Branch Davidians concerned Cole and Kennett too militant, Lyons said.

Aurora police ordered residents of nearby houses to leave their homes at about 2 p.m., neighbors said.

``One of the cops that evacuated me said there were some semi-automatic weapons, chemicals and stuff to make bombs with,″ neighbor Leo Fritz said.

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