New Hampshire Anti-Government Extremists Convicted

  • August 10, 2009

A federal jury in Maine has convicted husband and wife New Hampshire anti-government extremists Ed and Elaine Brown on all 11 felony charges against them.

On July 9, 2009, less than two weeks after their June 30 trial began, the jury found the couple guilty of conspiracy to prevent by force, intimidation or threats, officers of the United States from discharging their duties in carrying out the arrests; conspiracy to forcibly resist and impede federal law enforcement officers in the discharge of their duties in carrying out the arrests, by means including the use of dangerous and deadly weapons; two counts of carrying and possessing firearms and destructive devices in connection with and in furtherance of crimes of violence; two counts of possession of firearms after having been convicted of a felony; two counts of obstruction of justice; two counts of failure to appear for sentencing in April 2007 following their convictions on tax and other charges; and, for Ed Brown, an additional charge of failure to appear for trial.

The Browns are already serving a 63-month sentence for refusing to pay income taxes, but an eight-month standoff with law enforcement at their Plainfield Township home after their January 2007 conviction delayed the beginning of their sentence. Over the course of the stand-off, Ed Brown, in a series of online, radio, and newspaper interviews insisted that neither he nor his wife would be taken into custody alive and threatened a "Waco-style" response if federal authorities tried to take them by force. On October 4, a team of undercover United States marshals posing as supporters of the Browns placed them both under arrest without incident. It was this armed standoff that created a litany of new charges against the Browns.

During a search of the property following the standoff, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) discovered pipe bombs, bomb making materials, smoke grenades, bags of high explosives, numerous handguns and rifles, and more than 60,000 rounds of ammunition.

The Browns were active in the militia, sovereign citizen, and tax protest movements, and Ed Brown was the head of an anti-government extremist group called the Constitution Rangers.

A number of Brown supporters have also been convicted for aiding and abetting the couple by providing weapons, ammunition and basic supplies during the standoff, as well as conspiring to prevent the U.S. Marshals from arresting the Browns. Jason Gerhard, of Brookhaven, New York, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison; Robert Wolffe of Randolf, Vermont, to 30 months; Daniel Riley, of Cohoes, New York, to 36 years; and Cirino Gonzalez, of Alice, Texas, was convicted of conspiring to forcibly interfere with the U.S. Marshals Service's efforts to arrest the Browns, and was sentenced to 8 years in prison.

This case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office, and investigated by the United States Marshals Service with the assistance of the ATF, IRS, New Hampshire State Police, Plainfield Police Department, Lebanon Police Department, and the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office.