Political News

Charges filed against militia members traveling to Kenosha

Posted September 4, 2020 6:54 p.m. EDT

— Two members of the 417 Second Amendment Militia group from Missouri traveling to Kenosha, Wisconsin, were arrested Thursday by federal officials and charged with illegally possessing a cache of weapons.

Michael M. Karmo and Cody E. Smith were separately charged and ordered to be temporarily detained until their bail hearings on September 8 at 10:30 a.m. in front of Magistrate Judge Stephen C. Dries.

Karmo, 40 and Smith, 33, were roommates for a month, worked together and were members of the 417 Second Amendment Militia, a pro-law enforcement group, according to the criminal complaint.

They traveled by car to Kenosha to "see for themselves" what was going on at the protests, attended a "Make America Great Again" rally and planned to go to Portland to "take action" if police were defunded, according to Karmo's criminal complaint.

"Kenosha Police Department advised FBI that a law enforcement agency in Iowa had received a tip that Karmo and an unidentified male were in possession of firearms and traveling from Missouri to Kenosha, Wisconsin," prosecutors said in a statement Thursday.

FBI agents found in their hotel room an Armory AR-15 rifle, a Mossberg 500 AB 12-Gauge shotgun, two handguns, a silencer, ammunition, body armor, a drone, a twisted cable survival saw, a dagger and other materials, prosecutors said. They each have criminal records and were not authorized to have any firearms of ammunition, prosecutors said.

Their criminal complaints contained screenshots of Karmo's Facebook page where he posed in all black attire and in one photograph is allegedly holding a gun with a laser.

An attorney was not listed for Karmo, according to the online court file. A request for comment from Smith's attorney Craig Albee was not returned on Friday.

If convicted they each face up to 10 years in prison for each charge.

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