AD Main Menu

Updated: Militia 'supply sergeant' vanishes after Fairbanks arrests

William Fulton, center, owner of Drop Zone Security and flanked by off-duty U.S. Army soldiers, threaten to arrest and handcuff reporters that were trying to talk to Tony Hopfinger, founder and editor of the news magazine website Alaska Dispatch, after he was handcuffed during a Joe Miller campaign event in October. BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News

The Anchorage Press today reports further details from court documents in the Fairbanks militia arrests and wonders whether a weapons dealer named "Bill" mentioned therein is William Fulton, the former Drop Zone owner who has disappeared in the wake of the arrests.

Fairbanks public radio station KUAC (via the Alaska Public Radio Network) also has a report on the ideologies held by the militia members arrested in Fairbanks. A spokesman for the Alaska Peacemakers Militia told KUAC that the group is now defunct and that most its few dozen members had not supported the "wrong turn" taken by leader Schaeffer Cox -- one of those arrested.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner columnist Dermot Cole has posted video from a 2010 interview of Cox on KJNP-TV, a Fairbanks Christian station, in which Cox claimed to have discovered a plot by federal agents to attempt to take his son from him and provoke him into a gun battle that would let them kill him and his family.

-----------

Alaska Dispatch explores the recent disappearance of William Fulton, who until recently owned the Spenard military surplus store Drop Zone and a private security service. Fulton hasn't been seen since five days after the arrests in Fairbanks of five militia members allegedly planning to kill a federal judge and state troopers. Friends, Alaska militia members and Fulton's lawyer, Wayne Anthony Ross, wonder whether Fulton went "underground" as a protected witness in the Fairbanks case or whether he is wanted in connection with the alleged plot. The FBI and Anchorage police told Dispatch there are no charges pending against Fulton.

On March 15, a Drop Zone employee arrived at work to find Anchorage attorney Wayne Anthony Ross waiting for him in the parking lot. Ross had documents, signed by Fulton, handing over the shop with all its debts and assets to the employee.

The militia's email lists, websites and Internet chat groups where Fulton was an active participant under the names "Drop Zone Bill," "DZ" and "Bob Bob" started buzzing. "Anybody know what happened to DZ?" queried a poster named ironartist.

Others began to theorize that Fulton had gone underground to ready a "safe room" for the "fallout that could possibly be coming."

"He just dropped off the map,'' said Norm Olson of Nikiski, head of the Alaska Citizens Militia, in a recent interview. "I have no idea what happened to him.''

The new owner of the Drop Zone is worried someone who's after Fulton will mistakenly target the business.

["Giles"] says he is "freaked out'' by Fulton's disappearance and the circumstances surrounding it. ... "I'm concerned,'' Giles added. "People don't just give stuff away. I mean, it's one thing to give somebody a beer, but it's another thing to give somebody a house or your business.''

The Dispatch piece also includes a narrative of events leading to the arrests of the Fairbanks five and details of what had been the militia community's growing disapproval of the actions of Fairbanks militia leader Schaeffer Cox, one of those arrested March 10. Fulton was among those commenting online. Some militia members now suspect a police informant had infiltrated the Fairbanks movement.

Fulton became a public figure during last fall's Alaska U.S. Senate race when -- acting as a bodyguard for GOP candidate Joe Miller -- Fulton tried to arrest Dispatch editor Tony Hopfinger as Hopfinger attempted to interview Miller after a campaign forum.

Read more at Alaska Dispatch.