State Police Say Group Targeted in FBI Probe ‘Taken Seriously’
PHOENIX, Ariz. (AP) _ A right-wing group that federal investigators say was plotting to rob an armored car also had members who sent death threats to public officials, a state police spokesman said Tuesday.
Sgt. Allan Schmidt of the Arizona Department of Public Safety said no charges resulted from the threats allegedly sent in 1984 to legislators and other public figures, including Gov. Bruce Babbitt. But he said the group, called the Arizona Patriots, was well-known to his agency and its members ″are taken very seriously.″
Eight people were arrested Monday and at least one more arrest was anticipated, FBI spokesman Jack Smythe said, as a result of an undercover investigation. A former deputy sheriff infiltrated the group and supplied information on its members to the FBI over a two-year period, according to documents filed in federal court in Phoenix.
FBI affidavits filed in support of the charges also alleged that one person planned to bomb an IRS complex. But that allegation was not included in the charges.
Jack Maxwell Oliphant, 63; Patrick Henry Schlecht, 30; Daniel Taylor Arthur, 25; and Monte Dayton Ross, 22, were arrested in Kingman for investigation of conspiracy to commit bank robbery, Smythe said. Schlecht’s wife, Rita, was arrested for investigation of assault on a federal officer during the arrest of her husband, Smythe said.
FBI agents and Flagstaff police arrested rancher Foster Thomas Hoover, 46, in a separate complaint of manufacturing and possessing illegal firearms and destructive devices, Smythe said.
David Emerson Gumaer, 47, was arrested in Phoenix and accused of selling eight fully automatic Uzi submachine guns to undercover agents in Colorado in 1985, the FBI spokesman said. And Steven Christiansen, 42, of Fort Collins, Colo., was arrested in Colorado on a weapons charge.
Gumaer was released on his own recognizance Monday afternoon by U.S. Magistrate Morton Sitver. The initial court appearances of the other defendants were continued until noon Wednesday, a secretary in Sitver’s office said.
The FBI investigation of the Arizona Patriots began in 1984 after information was received indicating that members of the loose-knit organization ″openly espoused the desire to overthrow the U.S. government and destroy certain government facilities,″ according to documents filed in federal court.
″Some of them are potentially dangerous people,″ Schmidt said. ″They have serious anger and make serious threats.″
According to FBI affidavits based on the undercover investigation, the four men arrested in Kingman plotted to rob an armored truck carrying casino money for ″establishment of a firearms and survival training compound.″
The affidavit also said that Hoover planned the bombing of an IRS complex at Ogden, Utah, and had several homemade weapons at his ranch, including a mortar capable of firing a projectile several hundred feet.