Seven people with ties to what Florida law enforcement officials called a white supremacist and known domestic terrorist organization were arrested this past weekend on felony conspiracy and hate crime charges in a FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force operation.
Authorities arrested 39-year-old Marcus Faella, and wife 36-year-old Patricia Faella, on Friday, along with 29-year-old Mark McGowan and his wife 25-year-old Jennifer McGowan. Others arrested and taken to Osceola County Jail were 28-year-old Diane Stevens, 25-year-old Paul Jackson and 22-year-old Kent McLellan.
Each was charged with paramilitary training, attempt to shoot into an occupied dwelling and evidence of prejudices while committing offense, a first-degree felony.
It is a felony in Florida to participate in paramilitary training for use "in furtherance of, a civil disorder within the United States." The "prejudices" charge falls under Florida's hate crimes law.
Florida Ninth Circuit State Attorney Lawson Lamar said in a statement that his office will review the investigation and "will file the appropriate criminal charges."
"This investigation is a result of our on-going partnership with local law enforcement and federal agencies in a concentrated effort to stamp out hate crime in our community," Lamar said.
Bond for each was set at more than $500,000. Only Marcus and Patricia Faella had bonded out Monday afternoon.
It was not immediately known if they are represented by an attorney. A call at the listed number for the couple was not answered Monday.
In filings posted on Sunbiz.org, the website for Florida's Division of Corporations, Marcus and Patricia Faella, along with Marcus McGowan are listed on articles of incorporation filings for American Front, Inc.
It lists a St. Cloud, Fla., address as its place of business and Lynn Haven, Fla., post office box as its mailing address. It says the purpose for which the corporation is organized is "Religious and cultural preservation of the European peoples." It goes on to say the group is "organized exclusively for charitable, religious, educational and scientific purposes."
American Front has been identified by both the Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League as a hate group.
The Anti-Defamation League website lists American Front under its extremism in America category and identifies its leader, David Lynch, as "an active skinhead since the mid-1980s." It says he became involved with the group while living in Florida in the early 1990s.
Messages left at the listed number for American Front were not immediately returned.
A spokesman for the Ninth Judicial Circuit said that no other records from the arrests will be released until they are legally disclosed to the defense.