Troopers Arrest Five in Alleged Kidnapping, Murder Plot

Associated Press & Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Alaska State Troopers, Fairbanks police and federal law enforcement officers have arrested five people in the Fairbanks area for allegedly planning to kidnap and possibly kill troopers and a Federal judge.

According to a statement issued by troopers, the five were charged with conspiring to commit murder, kidnapping, arson, along with weapons misconduct, hindering prosecution and tampering with evidence.

Those arrested are  Francis “Schaeffer” Cox, Lonnie Vernon, Karen Vernon, Coleman Barney and Michael Anderson.

U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler said Lonnie Vernon was charged with threatening to kill federal judge Ralph Beistline.   The arrests took place yesterday and were completed by evening.

55 year old Vernon who is accused of evading income tax obligations pleaded not guilty today to federal charges of threatening the judge overseeing the case.

Vernon faces a two-count federal indictment that claims he threatened to murder U.S District Court Judge Ralph Beistline  in an attempt to intimidate and interfere with the judge in retaliation for Beistline issuing rulings in a civil tax case.

Vernon also faces state charges, as does a more high-profile defendant, 26-year-old Francis “Schaeffer” Cox, a leader in a militia movement.

State Troopers say Cox, Vernon, and three others collectively face conspiracy, weapons and evidence tampering charges. They were to be arraigned today  in state court.

Authorities say the group is involved with the Sovereign Citizen Movement.

The FBI describes the Sovereign Citizen Movement as a domestic terrorism group.

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