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Police: 'Sovereign citizens' planned to execute Las Vegas cops

By Ed Payne, CNN
updated 5:20 PM EDT, Fri August 23, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The FBI considers "sovereign citizens" a "domestic terrorist movement"
  • The movement does not recognize the authority of the governments
  • The two suspects were arrested after a four-month string operation
  • Additional arrests and charges are possible in the ongoing investigation, police say

(CNN) -- An undercover police operation stopped a plot by members of an anti-government movement to kidnap and execute police officers, Las Vegas police said Thursday.

Following a four-month investigation, police arrested roommates David Allen Brutsche, 42, and Devon Campbell Newman, 67.

David Allan Brutsche, 42
David Allan Brutsche, 42

"As the investigation progressed, we became aware that these two individuals were extremists in their beliefs and were actively plotting to kidnap and kill at least one southern Nevada police officer," said Lt. Jim Seebock with the department's counterterrorism Section.

Devon Campbell Newman, 67
Devon Campbell Newman, 67

Their plan did not single out a particular officer or law enforcment agency, but was to be a "target of opportunity," Seebock said.

"The suspects further believed once the first kidnapping and execution was accomplished, they would be compelled to keep repeating their actions -- kidnapping and killing multiple officers," he said.

During a sting operation, police said both Brutsche and Newman espoused the views of the sovereign citizens movement, which the FBI characterizes as "a growing domestic threat to law enforcement" and considers it "a domestic terrorist movement."

The movement does not recognize the authority of federal, state or local governments.

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"Sovereign Citizen is an ideology which in and of itself is fine," 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."

Authorities have charged the pair with conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping and attempted first degree kidnapping with use of a weapon.

Police say additional arrests and charges are possible in the ongoing investigation.

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