Wyoming Militia Man Convicted of Federal Firearms Charges

  • August 10, 2007

A federal jury convicted militia member and white supremacist Richard T. Serafin of Casper, Wyoming, of two charges of possession of a firearm to further a crime of violence, and possession of an unregistered firearm.

Serafin, leader of a tiny militia group calling itself the 45th Battalion, 44th Field Force (Central Wyoming Militia), previously pleaded guilty in July 2007, to possession of illegal firearms – two AR 15 type rifles with barrels less than 16 inches.  Prosecutors argued that Serafin dealt in illegal silencers and weapons intentionally designed to kill people.  The jury convicted him on August 3.

Serafin told an undercover U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent, to whom he also sold an illegal rifle, that he planned to travel to the Arizona-Mexico border and help border vigilante groups keep out immigrants.

Serafin faces up to 15 years in prison, and up to $500,000 in fines.

The investigation began in March 2006, when the Atlanta ATF office learned that Serafin had illegally bought a silencer from Germany over the Internet.  An undercover ATF agent then contacted Serafin and expressed an interest in militias and purchasing weapons.

Two other defendants-- Jana Renae Serafin and Kristine Jonelle Berwanger, both of Casper-- were also named in the case and await trial.  Each was charged with one count of making a false record in a gun transaction.  A charge against a fourth person was dismissed.