Traffic stop leads to potential federal charges

A traffic stop last month led to an arrest that could result in federal charges of domestic terrorism for a 31-year-old Indianapolis man. He was stopped by a Greenwood police officer on U.S. 31 after he raised the suspicions of the officer, who saw him driving through a mall parking lot.

The man was arrested for having multiple traffic offenses. When police searched his vehicle, they say they discovered a Ruger 10-22 rifle with a homemade suppressor and scope, 100 rounds of ammunition and water bottles filled with ammonia and bleach. The latter two items, when combined, can make either a toxic gas or a destructive device, according to prosecutors.

The man, who identifies himself as a “sovereign national” not bound by our country’s laws, was already set to be in court the following week. He was going to represent himself in that case, but has since pleaded guilty to charges of being a habitual traffic offender and not having a license for a handgun and requested a public defender. He could face six years behind bars when he’s sentenced in November for those charges.

A year ago he was convicted of possessing stolen police equipment, including an AR-15 rifle. The marked police car from which the rifle was stolen was set on fire.

Johnson County prosecutors say that they don’t know what the man had in mind when he was stopped on Aug. 15. However, the deputy prosecutor said, “I’ve been prosecuting since 1997 and I’ve never seen anything like this.”

The man is now in jail on $1 million bond while the Johnson County prosecutor awaits word from federal prosecutors on whether they will file toxic chemicals and federal firearms charges that the state can’t file. The U.S. Attorney is still reviewing the case.

The more convictions and guilty pleas a person has, the more that each subsequent run-in with the law can impact things like bail and potential punishment. No one should try to go it alone when they’re facing criminal charges.

Source: WTTV CBS 4, “Indianapolis man arrested, accused of planning act of domestic terrorism,” Aug. 29, 2016