Marcus Faella, Patricia Faella, and five others were arrested in Osceola County, Florida on Friday after they were accused of miscellaneous crimes, according to news reports. The arrested parties are reportedly Marcus Faella, 39, and his wife Patricia Faella, 36; Jennifer McGowan, 25, and her husband Mark McGowan, 29; Kent McLellan, 22; Paul Jackson, 25; and Diane Stevens, 28. The septet was charged with paramilitary training, evidence of prejudices while committing offense, and attempt to shoot into an occupied dwelling.
Each of the arrested parties were booked into Osceola County Jail on the charges and granted $500,000 bail bond. Marcus and Patricia Faella were reportedly released on Monday afternoon, while the others remained incarcerated in lieu of payment. It is not clear whether any of the defendants has retained a private criminal defense lawyer.
News sources indicate that the arrests were made after a two-year investigation by the FBI Joint Task Force operation in cooperation with local authorities. It is not clear what methods the investigation used in order to gather information, but the affidavit reportedly alleges that the group was planning white supremacist paramilitary activity. The charge of paramilitary training, which each of the defendants was accused of, involves training another person to make or use a weapon in order to further or instigate “a civil disorder within the United States.” The charge of evidences of prejudices while commenting offense is reportedly considered a hate crime and is a first-degree felony under Florida law.
One news source that reportedly acquired the affidavit is alleging that Faella considers himself and the rest of the group as “protectors of the white race” and that the defendants were training in order to kill minority groups. According to the affidavit, Marcus Faella told trainees to pretend that they were shooting at the heads of African Americans while conducting firearms training, reported one source.
The defendants are purportedly accused of planning to stage attacks in the area via a group called American Front, Inc. The California-based group is purportedly considered a hate group by several anti-prejudice watch organizations. News reports allege that in 2011, Marcus Faella incorporated a Florida branch of American Front, which is described as being dedicated to the “religious and cultural preservation of the European peoples.” One group, the Anti-Defamation League, called American Front a “domestic terrorist organization,” while another, the Southern Poverty Law center, alleged that Marcus Faella has been involved in hate groups since 1993. However, sources indicate that the corporation describes itself as “organized exclusively for charitable, religious, educational and scientific purposes.”
The affidavit reportedly alleges that American Front, Inc. members trained in hand-to-hand combat, learned to use firearms, and considered manufacturing ricin, a poison categorized as a weapon of mass destruction in the United States. During the investigation, authorities reportedly discovered that the group had created a stronghold at Faella’s residence, which included cement fortification, a stock of ammunition and firearms, and military-style meals. Faella is accused of building the stronghold as a base for white supremacists in case the U.S. government fails, according to reports.