Undercover agents thwarted two members of the domestic anti-government group Sovereign Citizens movement's plans to kidnap and execute police, reports the Las Vegas Sun.
Roommates David Allen Brutsche, 42, and Devon Campbell Newman, 67, were arrested in Las Vegas Tuesday night after a four-month long investigation led authorities to a vacant house the pair rigged to bind captives for trial and execution.
Authorities say an uncover agent who posed as an individual interested in joining the group was with Brutsche and Newman every step of the way. According to a 10-page report, the three participated in meetings and training sessions about the Sovereign Citizen movement's philosophy and discussed plans to closely watch police offers to abduct.
"We need to arrest the police and take them to our jail and put them in a cell and put them on trial in a people's court," Brutsche said in a recorded conversation on July 9. "If we run into the position that they resist, then we need to kill them."
The Sovereign Citizen's movement is an anti-government group that takes the position that they are answerable only to common law and are not subject to any statutes or proceedings at the federal, state or municipal levels. They do not recognize U.S. currency and are are "free of any legal constraints." They also reject most forms of taxation.
"Sovereign Citizen is an ideology which in and of itself is fine," police Lt. James Seebock said. "It's when they profess that ideology in conjunction with criminal acts in violation of laws or to further their criminal acts (that) they come on our radar."
The FBI classifies "sovereign citizens" among domestic terror threats and as anti-government extremists.
"You look at their motivation being that the government that gives the officer authority isn't viable, and if they get a following, it's a threat to be reckoned with," said Kory Flowers, a Greensboro, N.C., police detective who studies sovereign citizen groups and teaches police about them."
Brutsche and Newman are currently behind bars pending a September 9 preliminary hearing on charges of felony conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping and attempted kidnapping. The couple told a Las Vegas judge that they didn't recognize his authority to keep them in jail, but he sent them back anyway.