Local police and federal authorities in Florida have arrested eight members of a white supremacist group, including three leaders, on hate crime and conspiracy, according to police.
Three of the people arrested, Marcus Faella, his wife Patricia Faella, and Mark McGowan, are leaders of the local American Front organization. The rest are low-ranking members.
McGowan, 29, and his wife Jennifer, 25, are also accused of giving paramilitary weapons training, knowing the new skills were likely to be used to fight the government, authorities say.
‘Racist skinheads’: Marcus Faella, 39, and his wife Patricia, 36, are both leaders of the St Cloud, Florida, chapter of American Front, which is a violent skinhead organization
Take up arms: Mark McGowan, 29, also a leader of the group, and his wife Jennifer, 25, are both charged with offering illegal paramilitary training
The arrests over the weekend were the second wave of busts in a major FBI investigation of white supremacist groups in central Florida, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported.
The other three arrested over the weekend were: Diane Stevens, 28, Kent McLellan, 22, and Paul Jackson, 25.
Christopher Brooks, 27, an ex-con was arrested Monday. Police are also searching for his friend, Richard ‘Swamp Nazi’ Stockdale.
All of them belong to American Front in St Cloud, Florida, an organization that bills its mission as ‘religious and cultural preservation of the European people,’ according to the Orlando Sentinel.
But the Anti-Defamation league calls American Front ‘a racist skinhead group’ that has long been involved in violent crimes against Jews, immigrants and other minorities.
Marked: Many members of American Front have tattoos signifying their allegiance to the white power movement. Kent McLellan, 22, (left) has facial tattoos. A swastika is visible on Diane Stevens, 28 (right)
Newest suspects: Christopher Brooks, 27, (left) was arrested Monday. Police are also searching for his friend, Richard ‘Swamp Nazi’ Stockdale (right)
Prosecutors took it even farther, saying it is a ‘domestic terror group.’
All of the members were charged with committing a hate crime and criminal conspiracy.
The two leaders, Marcus and Patricia Faella, age 39 and 36, were released Friday after posting $1 million bail.
Marcus Faella has a long history in white supremacist groups in Florida. In the early 1990s, he was a member of another racist group, the Confederate Hammerskins, and was the head of the chapter in Melbourne, Florida.
In March, authorities arrested six people in Orlando who were members of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club and the 1st SS Kavallerie Brigade Motorcycle Division, also a white supremacist group.
Police say those six people were plotting to blow up buildings and attack their enemies.
Authorities told the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, that the March arrests and the bust this weekend are linked to the same investigation.
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