Man To Stand Trial in Sniper Plot
Mar. 13, 1998
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A man ordered to stand trial on weapons possession charges was the leader of a heavily armed militia group that planned to use snipers to kill immigrants trying to illegally enter California, a prosecutor said Thursday.
Alvin Ung, 34, and other members of the multi-ethnic Southern California Minuteman Association were planning to ``use snipers to control illegal immigrants'' at the U.S.-Mexico border in an exercise dubbed ``Operation Run For The Border,'' said Michael P. Dowd, San Bernardino County deputy district attorney.
During a preliminary hearing Wednesday, a judge ruled there was sufficient evidence to bring Ung to trial on 13 felony counts, including possession of illegal firearms, ammunition and explosive devices. He faces a maximum 20 years and 4 months in prison.
Superior Court Judge Gerard S. Brown scheduled a March 18 arraignment.
A defense lawyer denied Ung was part of any militia and said the charges were ``blown way out of proportion.'' He also claimed the organization was called the ``Southern California Marksman Association.''
``Mr. Ung is not a terrorist and by no stretch of the imagination is he a racist,'' Ung's attorney, Bruce Colodny, said Thursday.
Prosecutors claim Ung was one of the leaders of the Claremont-based group, an extreme faction of a larger Los Angeles-area militia that splintered several years ago.
``This group was much more extreme than any of the other militias in the greater Los Angeles area,'' Dowd said.
The group was fiercely opposed to illegal immigration and free trade with other nations, and was suspicious of the federal government, Dowd said.
Members trained at shooting ranges in the San Gabriel Mountains, undergoing ``sniper training, hostage-taking training, tear gas training, combat training and armed repelling training,'' Dowd said.
The prosecutor refused to say whether other attacks on other targets such as government buildings were planned.