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Feds tricked holed-up tax evaders

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Federal marshals posed as supporters, then arrested tax-evading couple
  • Ed and Elaine Brown were sentenced in absentia in April
  • Couple had previously refused to surrender to authorities
  • Couple's N.H. home became rallying spot for anti-government supporters
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From Deb Feyerick and Eden Pontz
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(CNN) -- U.S. marshals posing as supporters talked their way into the fortress-like New Hampshire home of convicted tax evaders Ed and Elaine Brown, then calmly took them into custody, authorities said.

"They invited us in, and we escorted them out," U.S. Marshal Stephen Monier said at a news conference on Friday.

So ended a tense, six-month standoff in the New Hampshire woods. The Browns had vowed they'd never be taken alive and holed up in their concrete-reinforced home in Plainfield. All along, though, they had continued to see anti-government activists.

Monier said the standoff "ended exactly the way we wanted it to, without a shot being fired and with no one being hurt."

Federal agents found several explosive devices inside and outside of the home along with weapons and ammunition. There also were several booby traps in the house and on the grounds.

The Browns were convicted in January of evading $1.9 million in taxes on Elaine Brown's dental practice -- a crime punishable by up to five years in prison. They were sentenced in absentia in April.

Throughout the standoff, the Browns insisted there was no valid law that requires them to pay income taxes.

"We have committed no crime and we will not go to prison for noncrimes," Elaine Brown told CNN in June.

Marshals cut off utilities to the house in early June, but the Browns told CNN it was not much of a hardship because they had their own wind turbine, as well as solar panels that provided some electricity.

Also, their property covers more than 103 acres, so there was plenty of wood to keep them warm in the winter, they said.

The couple and their New Hampshire home had become a rallying spot for anti-government supporters. Randy Weaver -- a survivor of the 1992 incident in Ruby Ridge, Idaho -- had recently visited the Browns to show his support.

Over the summer, the Browns invited their supporters and friends to an outdoor party on their property that included live music, bocci and barbeque. Their online invitations asked attendees to "stand in solidarity with the Browns against income tax fraud and celebrate freedom."

The Browns, who are in their 60s, now likely face a host of other charges.


They accumulated the back taxes between 1996 and 2003, in part from money made from Elaine's private dental practice.

Four people accused of aiding and abetting the Browns, including one man who allegedly provided security, were arrested and taken into custody in mid-September. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Sara B. Boxer contributed to this report.

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