Florida police have charged ten members of a white supremacist group with actively plotting and preparing for what they deemed an “inevitable” race war by targeting various city buildings and marked dwellings known to be occupied or frequented by minorities for planned attack and ultimately total annihilation.
FBI agents and a team of terrorism task force officers began corralling suspects over the weekend, largely based on evidence uncovered by an undercover informant who infiltrated the neo-Nazi organization known as the American Front (AF) nearly 17-months ago.
Among other violently egregious acts, affidavits show the volatile group planned to begin manufacturing ricin, a poisonous white powder categorized by those in the know as a potential “weapon of mass destruction.”
In addition, group members often religiously convened at an isolated, fortified compound that was guarded by barbwire fences and pit bull dogs where they trained with AK-47s, shotguns and various forms of explosives. The grounds were also riddled with fortified entrenchments made from railroad timbers, cement pilings and other materials which members also used to engage in hand-to-hand combat training and where survivalist-type supplies such as water and ready-to-eat meals were stored in abundance.
According to investigators, the property was structured to serve as a refuge for white supremacists after the destruction of the U.S. government and at the height of the sure to follow race war. The group, which also mastered the art of designing and crafting body armor and sniper suits, was at one point aided by the expertise of a trained member of the National Guard who traveled there from Missouri and signed on as a full-fledged AF member.
Authorities added that group members also harbored unflinching vendettas against Jews and immigrants and planned to attack those groups as well.
“This investigation is a result of our on-going partnership with local law enforcement and federal agencies in a concentrated effort to stamp out hate crime in our community,” said Florida States Attorney Lawson Lamar. In a written statement, FBI agents furthered sought to stress the critical nature of the situation by describing the group as a bonafide “military-styled, domestic terrorist organization.”
Authorities have fingered 39-year-old Marcus Faella, who describes himself as “the protector of the white race,” and his 36-year-old wife, Patricia, as the ringleaders of the group. Charges against the pair range from felony conspiracy as a hate crime to engaging in paramilitary training, likewise a Class A felony.
“Marcus Faella has been planning and preparing the AF for this,” authorities outlined in an affidavit calling for his apprehension. “Faella has stated his intent during the race war to kill Jews, immigrants and other minorities. Faella believes the race war will take place within the next few years based on current world events.”
Thus, mere miles from where voluntary neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman shot to death unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin back in late February, setting off a firestorm that has since gripped and divided the nation along racial lines, Faella stoked the fire of his charges by imploring them to visualize jugs they shot at during regularly scheduled target practices as “the heads of black people.”
As recently as February, Faella allegedly began plotting to “cause a disturbance” at Orlando’s City Hall “so that the media would report on it and attract new recruits to AF.” Court documents show he felt the group, originally established in 1987, had been dormant for far too long and needed to reaffirm its white-hot views.
As part of his master plan, Faella allegedly wanted AF members to confront members of an anti-racism group called the REDS and “put their teeth to the curb— an apparent reference to the more violent scenes played out violent in “American X,” a 1998 cult film well versed in the roots of racial hatred.
Though determined as ever, in recent months investigators say Faella grew even more erratic, ordering AF members to commit varying crimes on the groups’ behalf in an effort to generate more buzz. Police decided to intercede after learning Faella was planning to attack REDS members during a ‘May Day’ event in nearby Melbourne, a time when he also planned to shoot up the homes of several of the group’s lead officials.
The informant, who eventually grew to become a “patched” or recognized member of the organization, told investigators AF members also planned to begin crafting sign holders that could be used to conceal weapons and allow them to travel to select events posing as protestors.
“If I find out any of you are informants, I will f***ing kill you,” the informant told police Faella often threatened.
Fearing that Faella suspicions were mounting, the informant fled the compound on April 28, after he and all other group members were ordered to turn over their cell phones to Faella and a few other select leaders.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based hate watchdog group, AF has a history of being one of the more violent skinhead groups, including the recent beating death of a Salt Lake City man and a string of 1993 California bombings. In recent months, group membership has been growing in number, particularly its Florida and Oregon branches.
Marcus and Patricia Faella were both ordered held on $500,000 bond, along with fellow arrestees Dustin Perry, Diane Stevens, Christopher Brooks, Paul Jackson, Kent McLellan and spouses Mark and Jennifer McGowan. Bond for Richard Stockdale was set at more than $1 million based on a probation violation stemming from a 2008 racially-motivated attack and conviction in which it was stipulated he not have contact with AF members and, as a violent, convicted, felon, he not have contact with any firearms.
Glenn Minnis is a NYC-based sports and culture writer. Follow him on Twitter at @glennnyc.