Anti-Government Extremist Convicted in Plot to Kill Federal Officials

  • February 2, 2005

An Idaho extremist and longtime activist in the anti-government sovereign citizen and tax protest movements was convicted in federal court for plotting to kill a federal judge, prosecutor and IRS agent who were involved in a tax case against him.

David Roland Hinkson, 48, of Grangeville, Idaho, was convicted by a jury in Boise on multiple counts of solicitation of a crime of violence and two additional counts of retaliation against a federal official by threatening a family member.

According to federal officials, Hinkson made statements at least a dozen times about hiring a hit man to kill the three officials.  On one occasion, according to court documents, Hinkson told a woman that he wanted to kill the children of the IRS agent and prosecutor while they watched.

The judge, Edward Lodge, had angered Hinkson not only because Lodge was involved in his tax case, but because Lodge had in 1998 dismissed a criminal charge against an FBI sniper involved in the 1992 "Ruby Ridge" standoff between the federal government and white supremacist Randy Weaver.  The sniper killed Weaver's wife during the standoff. 

The tax case against Hinkson stemmed from his failure to pay almost a million dollars in income taxes between 1997 and 2000 and for refusing to file tax returns or to withhold income tax from the salaries of employees working for his multi-million dollar business, Water Oz, which sold dietary supplements.  Hinkson often paid his employees in silver dollars (some anti-government extremists considered paper money illegal and unconstitutional). 

An IRS investigation, which began in the summer of 2000, ended in a raid on Hinkson's house and his arrest in 2002.  Referring to the raid, Hinkson later wrote that "I believe that…[government officials] orchestrated the raid on Water Oz and my home for the sole purpose of murdering me and ending the lawsuit that was filed against them by me."  Hinkson did sue the two officials, and several others, but the suit was dismissed—by Judge Lodge. 

In 2004, Hinkson was convicted on 26 federal tax-related charges; earlier in 2004, Hinkson pleaded guilty to distributing a misbranded drug and distributing an adulterated medical device.  Hinkson had sold water treated with various substances, including lithium, that he claimed could treat illnesses that ranged from AIDs to cancer.

Hinkson will be sentenced for the tax, drug, and murder solicitation convictions; he could receive 20 years in prison for the solicitation charges alone.