Wyoming extremist charged with weapons violations

  • April 23, 2007

A Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigation has resulted in charges against a Wyoming white supremacist and militia activist for weapons violations related to a possible planned attack against immigrants.

Richard T. Serafin of Casper, Wyoming, was charged with possession of firearms not in the national firearms registration and transfer record, and possession of firearms to further a crime of violence.

Serafin, 37, was active in both white supremacist and anti-government militia circles in Wyoming.  He led a small militia group he called the 45th Battalion, 44th Field Force, Central Wyoming Militia. 

Serafin allegedly told an undercover law enforcement officer that he was relocating to the Arizona-Mexican border to harm illegal immigrants.  In October 2006, Serafin posted to a white supremacist message forum that he would be moving to Phoenix in the spring of 2007 to “train and help out the citizen border patrols going on down there.”  Four months later, in February 2007 he stated that he was going down to Arizona to “help with some ‘problems.’” 

The ATF investigation of Serafin began in 2006 after he purportedly purchased a silencer from Germany over the Internet.   An undercover agent contacted Serafin via the Internet, inquiring about the anti-government militia movement.  A meeting was set up, at which time authorities say Serafin detailed his racist views and his connection to a militia. 

Serafin had previously frequently expressed white supremacist views on the Internet.  He described himself as “racially aware and proud,” and in 2004 stated that he was going through a divorce at that time because his then wife was “wishy/washy” about race issues and thought he was too “outspoken.”  He also admitted having been kicked out of other militia groups for being racist, so he started his own, all-white militia group.  Serafin stated that “the thought of mixing with n------, kikes, muds, or whatever makes me puke.”

On another occasion Serafin later invited the undercover agent to his home, where he allegedly sold the agent a handgun and displayed numerous weapons, including two sawed-off AR-15 rifles, and a fully automatic assault rifle. 

Serafin, who has been in custody since his detention hearing in February, pleaded not guilty to all charges on April 16.  His trial is scheduled for April 30 in the US District Court in Casper. 

Three other Casper residents, Jana Renae Serafin, Craig Shain and Kristine Jonelle Berwanger, were named in the case and also pleaded not guilty.  They are each charged with one count of making a false record in a gun transaction.  Shain and Berwanger were released on their own recognizance.  Jana Renae Serafin's arraignment is scheduled for April 23.