Pennsylvania Militia Member Sentenced for Selling Explosives

  • September 24, 2009

A federal judge in the Western District of Pennsylvania sentenced a member of a small Pennsylvania militia group for selling illegal explosives.

On September 11, 2009, the judge sentenced Perry Landis, 63, to time served due to the fact that Landis has been in custody in the Allegheny County Jail since his arrest in June 2008. The judge ordered Landis to serve an additional two years of supervised release.

In June 2009, Landis, who authorities believe was sergeant-at-arms of the Brookville Tiger Militia in Jefferson County, pleaded guilty to selling explosive blasting caps to undercover police in September 2007 and March 2008. 

Landis' arrest was one of several that occurred on June 8, 2008, when federal agents with the Pittsburgh Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) carried out a sweep. The sting operation was the result of a three-year investigation by the Pittsburgh JTTF, which includes the FBI and the Pennsylvania State Police, into illegal activities involving area militia members.

Other defendants arrested in the sting included Bradley Kahle, 60, of Troutville, Marvin Hall, 49, and his girlfriend Melissa Huet, 34, of Rimersville, and Morgan A. Jones, 65, of Lucinda. 

According to authorities, Kahle swore in four undercover agents as members of the Pennsylvania Citizens Militia, believed to be the umbrella militia group for the state, and allegedly showed agents two AK-47 assault rifles and a sniper rifle, as well as approximately 5,000 rounds of ammunition. The agents also reported that Kahle made comments about killing judges, law enforcement, and African-Americans, and that he hoped that then-presidential candidate Barack Obama would be assassinated if he were elected.  Agents found 16 improvised explosive devices in his home.  He was freed on bond, but was re-arrested on June 21, 2008, after investigators found another explosive device during a subsequent search at his home. 

Jones, allegedly a captain in the 91st Warrior Militia, another sub-group under the Pennsylvania Citizens Militia, also pleaded guilty in June 2009 to illegally selling firearms without a license.  He was accused of selling assault rifles to known militia members and undercover federal agents, and faces a maximum five years in prison when he is sentenced on October 5.  Agents seized 93 firearms and 60,000 rounds of ammunition from his property.  Jones was the emergency management coordinator for Knox Township in Clarion County, Pennsylvania, and Hall's former neighbor.

Hall is charged with being a convicted felon (he was convicted of making homemade grenades in 1999) in possession of a firearm, and with unlawfully transferring firearms - two golf balls which he made into grenades.

Huet is charged with aiding and abetting a convicted felon for allegedly providing the guns for Hall.