Members of white supremacist group arrested in Florida
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) – Railroad ties, cement pilings and other debris reportedly mark the entrance to Marcus and Partricia Faella’s rural Florida compound, situated on the edge of a wildlife management area marketed by tourism officials as a good spot for hikers, campers and bird watchers.
Look closer and, according to police documents, you’d see shooting slits cut into the side of the couple’s trailer, maybe even some military-grade ordinance scattered around the property.
It is there, authorities say, that Marcus, his wife and eight other members of American Front — a down-on-its-luck white supremacist group — trained in hand-to-hand combat, drilled in breaking down weapons and practiced shooting them, imagining their targets weren’t merely water jugs, but rather the exploding heads of people they hated.
On Monday, authorities said they had arrested the Faellas and five other members of the group, which is also known by its initials AF, on charges of illegal paramilitary training, attempting to shoot into an occupied dwelling and evidence of prejudice while committing a crime.
“Faella views himself and the other members of the AF as the protectors of the white race,” investigators wrote in an affidavit. “Faella has stated his intent during the race war is to kill Jews, immigrants and other minorities.”
More immediately, according to police, Faella was planning to stage provocative disruptions at the Orlando City Hall and at a Melbourne, Florida, anarchist gathering that included members of anti-racist skinhead groups.
Faella, the police documents say, wanted to stir up media attention to help gain new recruits for American Front, which hate-tracking groups says has been faltering since the death of its leader, David Lynch, in California.
Nationally, American Front has had a long and violent history, including the beating death of a Salt Lake City man and a string of 1993 bombings in California, according to hate-tracking groups.
The 25-year-old group enjoyed a resurgence in 2007 under Lynch, described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a charismatic leader who helped form it in 1987. But Lynch was shot to death in his home in March 2011, leaving the group with no clear leader, according to the Anti-Defamation League. It has shrunk significantly in the past year, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Most of the group’s 50 or so members appear to live in Florida, according to the ADL.
Authorities identified the other members arrested last week as Christopher Brooks, Richard Stockdale, Kent McLellan, Jennifer McGowan, Mark McGowan, Diane Stevens, Paul Jackson and Dustin Perry.
Except for Marcus and Patricia Faella, all remained jailed Wednesday.
Marcus Faella bonded out of jail on Saturday, according to Osceola County officials. His wife was released on Sunday, they said.
According to police, Faella’s group watched videos training them in fighting and the use of AK-47s and other weapons at the compound, which the affidavit said is ringed with barbed wire and protected by pit bulls and firing positions facing the driveway.
The property was meant to become a refuge for white supremacists after the fall of the U.S. government during a race war, investigators wrote in the affidavit. The group was making body armor and sniper suits and stocking up on supplies in preparation, according to police.
On at least one occasion, a group member who also belonged to the National Guard provided training to American Front members that he had learned in the military, according to the affidavit.
The arrests came on the heels of a two-year investigation based on the reports of a confidential informant who had to flee the fortified compound on April 28, according to the arrest affidavit.
At a meeting to plan the attack on rival skinheads that day, Faella nearly discovered secret recordings the informant had been making of training exercises, according to an affidavit released by police.
CNN’s Kim Segal contributed to this report.