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Federal charges filed against Alaska Peacemakers Militia members

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

Four Fairbanks-area residents now face federal charges for allegedly conspiring to kill a relative of a state judge and an IRS employee, according to a report in the Anchorage Daily News that quotes U.S. Attorney for Alaska Karen Loeffler. The Alaska Peacemakers  Militia members -- Schaeffer Cox, Lonnie Vernon, Karen Vernon and Coleman Barney -- also were indicted for allegedly gathering illegal weapons to carry out the attacks, the story reported. The four were already charged for conspiracy by the state in a criminal complaint filed March 10. When Loeffler spoke with reporters on Thursday about the new charges, she was "flanked by an FBI special agent, a U.S. marshal, (an Alaska State Troopers) official and the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case," the Daily News reported. "'The federal charges are not about anybody being a militia member or not being a militia member,'" Loeffler said. "'This is about people that issued threats, and at the same time they're issuing threats, they're holding weapons that are destructive devices and are illegal under the law.'" Read the full ADN story. Meantime, a War Room blogger for Salon wrote Thursday about a "lengthy story outlining the support Alaska Tea Party Senate candidate Joe Miller was getting within the state's militia movement" and how this may pose a political problem for Miller. There is buzz on the Internet, at Salon and elsewhere, that Cox and Miller were "friends," although Miller denies any ties.