Former Aryan Nations Leader Arrested in Seattle

  • February 18, 2005

Keith Gilbert, a former Aryan Nations member, and two other white supremacists were arrested in Washington in three separate raids conducted by federal agents on February 15, 2005.

Gilbert, 65, was arrested at his home in north Seattle, where authorities also seized weapons.  A former aide to the late Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler, Gilbert is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, two counts of possession of a machine gun and two counts of possession of an unregistered weapon.

An unsealed federal complaint accuses Gilbert of selling weapons, including machine guns, to an ATF informant. Gilbert’s associate, William D. Heinrich, 50, was also arrested at his Seattle home; he is accused of selling a pistol to a paid informant, according to a separate complaint.

A third man, John P. Hegna, 44, was arrested in Aberdeen.  Hegna and two others, Barton L. Carter and Allen J. Long, who are still at large, are charged with conspiracy to transfer plastic explosives without a detection agent, according to a third complaint.

An FBI spokeswoman said that Gilbert, Heinrich and Hegna are involved with white supremacist activities.

Gilbert’s long criminal record includes a five year prison term for plotting to blow up a B’nai B’rith event honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in the 1960s; police found 1,400 pounds of dynamite in Gilbert’s possession at that time.  “I was planning to blow up Martin Luther King when he was speaking to 5,000 Jews at the Palladium in LA,” Gilbert later said.

Gilbert became involved with Richard Butler when moved to Idaho in the early 1970s.  By the late 1970s, however, Gilbert had a falling out with Butler and formed an Aryan Nations splinter group called the Social Nationalist Aryan People’s Party in 1979.

In the 1980s Gilbert was convicted of assaulting a teenager from a racially mixed family.  He has also served time for welfare fraud and tax evasion.



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