Three men indicted for racketeering on Friday planned to overthrow the government and create an Aryan People’s Republic, prosecutors allege.
A federal grand jury in Little Rock charged Chevie Kehoe of Colville, Wash., Daniel Lee of Oklahoma City and Faron E. Lovelace of Sandpoint in a seven-count indictment that includes allegations of murder, kidnapping, robbery and conspiracy.
The indictment says the conspiracy started sometime before January 1994 and continued through last summer, when Kehoe and Lee, who are both 24, were arrested.
Lovelace, 40, was arrested in August 1996 while living in a survivalist camp just south of Priest Lake, Idaho.
The three men are in custody and could face the death penalty if convicted.
The indictment said Kehoe “was the leader of the enterprise and functioned as the primary planner and decision maker, as well as directing and carrying out acts of murder, theft, interstate transportation of stolen property and money laundering.”
The group is accused of committing crimes in at least six states, including Washington and Idaho.
Thousands of dollars worth of stolen property, including an arsenal of firearms and ammunition, were brought to Spokane by the group.
The members intended to “take all acts necessary, including the murder of law enforcement officers, execution of victims and execution of co-conspirators thought disloyal, to finance the organization and avoid capture,” the indictment alleges.
Once the U.S. government was gone, their new country would grow “by recruiting certain white people into the Republic and by engaging in polygamy so that the number of these white persons would greatly increase,” the indictment says.
Public officials the group considered targeting included the Bonner County sheriff and the mayor of Sandpoint, U.S. Attorney Paula J. Casey said.
A grand jury returned the indictment almost two years after the investigation began with the murders of a gun dealer, his wife and 8-yearold stepdaughter in Arkansas.
The adult victims, William and Nancy Mueller, were acquainted with Kehoe and shared some of his antigovernment views.
Kehoe and Lee are accused of those killings.
The indictment also accuses Kehoe of the Feb. 15, 1997, attempted murder of Ohio police officer Robert Martin.
Authorities say Kehoe encountered Martin shortly after he and his 21-year-old brother, Cheyne Kehoe, shot their way out of a confrontation with other Ohio police officers. That shootout was captured on a police video camera.
Other crimes listed in the indictment include:
Transporting from Arkansas to Spokane the Muellers’ 28-foot trailer, firearms and other stolen property.
Kidnapping and robbing Malcolm and Jill Friedman of Colville on June 12, 1995.
Murdering Jeremy Scott in August 1995 in North Idaho. Lovelace has already been convicted in Idaho state court of killing Scott, whom he suspected was a government informant.
The three men have ties to the Aryan Nations in North Idaho or Elohim City, a white separatist compound in Oklahoma.
Convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh also has been linked to Elohim City, but Casey said the investigation has found no connection between McVeigh and the Kehoe group.
She added, however, “There are several things that we are continuing to investigate.”
More than 20 witnesses from the Spokane area testified before the racketeering grand jury in the past year.
In detailing the conspiracy, Casey said others were involved who aren’t named in the indictment.
“There were, we believe, other criminal violations that are not charged in the indictment simply because we didn’t have enough proof to convict,” she said.
The investigation involves the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; the FBI; and state investigators in Idaho, Ohio, Arkansas and Washington. Federal prosecutors could seek a superceding indictment if additional evidence is uncovered.
Investigators tracking the case say the group clearly was following the prototype of a 1980s neo-Nazi group known as The Order, founded by the late Robert Mathews, of Metaline Falls, Wash.