In a series of arrests that began over the weekend, authorities in Central Florida have now arrested ten individuals tied to the racist skinhead organization American Front. Initial arrests included two on Friday and five more on Sunday. While the first two arrested have already been released on bail, there were three more arrests announced this morning.
From the AP report in the Miami Herald:
Seven people with ties to what Florida law enforcement officials called a white supremacist and known domestic terrorist organization were arrested this past weekend on felony conspiracy and hate crime charges in a FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force operation.
Authorities arrested 39-year-old Marcus Faella, and wife 36-year-old Patricia Faella, on Friday, along with 29-year-old Mark McGowan and his wife 25-year-old Jennifer McGowan. Others arrested and taken to Osceola County Jail were 28-year-old Diane Stevens, 25-year-old Paul Jackson and 22-year-old Kent McLellan.
Each was charged with paramilitary training, attempt to shoot into an occupied dwelling and evidence of prejudices while committing offense, a first-degree felony.
It is a felony in Florida to participate in paramilitary training for use “in furtherance of, a civil disorder within the United States.” The “prejudices” charge falls under Florida’s hate crimes law.
Florida Ninth Circuit State Attorney Lawson Lamar said in a statement that his office will review the investigation and “will file the appropriate criminal charges.”
The article goes on to identify those arrested as belonging to the hate group American Front. A partially outdated description of the group can be found here on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website. The ADL’s concise description of the group:
The American Front is a racist skinhead group that is active in several states around the country. The group espouses an anti-Semitic, white supremacist ideology and disseminates its message in public events that demonize Jews, immigrants, and other minorities. Before the current leader took the helm of the group in 2002, American Front was unusual in that it espoused “Third Positionist” beliefs, a peculiar blend of right-wing extremism that rejects both capitalism and communism in favor of an ill-defined “third way.”
Although American Front is not particularly large, it is one of the oldest continuously active racist skinhead groups in the United States. However, few original members are still with the group; most of the current membership is new. American Front has a legacy of criminal activity that ranges from brutal hate crimes to acts of terrorism.