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Schaeffer Cox pleads not guilty to federal weapons charge

Eric Christopher Adams

Militia organizer Schaeffer Cox of Fairbanks believed that the Drug Enforcement Agency dispatched six operatives to Interior Alaska in order to kill him, his wife and their son Seth, according to an interview with the North Pole Christian television station KJNP-TV. The YouTube clips of Cox -- now jailed without bail for allegedly conspiring to kill judges and several others, and for possessing a cache of illegal weapons -- were featured in a column Wednesday by Fairbanks Daily News-Miner columnist and blogger Dermot Cole.

Cox believed the federal agents would try and "orchestrate an event" to "provoke" him into "a display of force" and the feds were targeting his son because of a Facebook photo showing young Seth "playing with ammunition and seated amid hundreds of bullets." Cox tells the Trinity Broadcasting Network's North Pole affiliate that "We could have had them killed within 20 minutes." Cole notes that at a Montana conference last year, "Cox said of Fairbanks, 'We are right on the edge of having blood in our streets.'"

Cox is one of six Fairbanks-area residents awaiting trial on state and federal conspiracy charges.  Cox and others have pleaded not guilty, and trial is now set for mid-May.

Meanwhile, there's still no word on what has happened to an Anchorage man with ties to the Alaska Peacemakers Militia and other state militias. Drop Zone military surplus store owner William Fulton disappeared a few days after the arrests, signing over his store and residence to an employee. There has been speculation that Fulton supplied firepower to Cox and others, including illegal weaponry, and that he may somehow be connected to the federal investigation.

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Fulton provided security to former Alaska U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller, and in October handcuffed and detained Alaska Dispatch editor Tony Hopfinger at a campaign event in Anchorage. Miller, who lost the election to write-in incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski after a long court battle with the state, was recently chosen to lead the tea party-supporting Western Representation political action conference, based in Nevada.

Western Representation PAC supported Miller's winning candidacy in Alaska's 2010 Republican Senate primary, according to a press release circulated by Miller.

In another press release distributed earlier this month, Miller denied any connection to Cox or the other militia members, who had only days before been arrested for allegedly conspiring to kill Alaska state troopers, judges and their family members.

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State and federal charging documents indicate that Cox and other defendants -- Lonnie and Karen Vernon and Coleman Barney -- had amassed a large weapons cache that contained automatic weapons, silencers and hand grenades, and numerous other high-powered weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition. The Vernons had been involved in a federal tax case separate from Cox's earlier run-ins with law enforcement.

Barney's wife, Rachel, has been charged with helping hide a fugitive, and another man, Michael Anderson, is charged in the conspiracy for his alleged involvement in evidence tampering and helping identify possible targets.

Cox has argued that he is a "sovereign citizen" and the court systems of Alaska and the United States hold no jurisdiction or authority over him. Jared Loughner used "sovereign citizen" talking points when pleading not guilty to a 49-count indictment in the Tucson, Ariz., shooting spree that killed six, including a federal judge, and wounded 19, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

Here's how the Monitor describes the sovereign citizen movement in a story recently published with permission by Alaska Dispatch: "Angry, desperate, and firm in their belief that they're above the law, America's 'sovereign citizens' are presenting a mounting threat to domestic law and order, according to reports and terrorism experts."

Contact Eric Christopher Adams at eric(at)alaskadispatch.com