PHOENIX (AP) — The FBI was already conducting a domestic terrorism investigation of an Arizona border vigilante when the man allegedly killed four people and then himself this week, officials said.
James Turgal, special agent in charge of the FBI's Phoenix office, tells The Arizona Republic (http://bit.ly/KnPzO4 ) that his agency's probe of Jason Todd "JT" Ready had nothing to do with the murder-suicide stemming from a suspected domestic dispute in a Phoenix suburb Wednesday.
Ready was the leader of the U.S. Border Guards, a group of armed civilians that patrols the Arizona desert for illegal immigrants and drug smugglers.
Turgal said the FBI's investigation dated to when Ready was a member of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement and continued into his participation with the border group. The probe is based on tips of criminal activity that Turgal would not specify.
The report published Saturday says the killings have given the FBI access to Ready's documents and computers.
Search warrant affidavits obtained by the Republic show federal agents seized numerous computers and munitions from the Gilbert home where Ready lived and died in an apparent murder-suicide. The documents and Turgal's comments show that the federal government had an interest in Ready's activities unrelated to this week's murders.
The warrants imply weapons seized at the murder scene were stolen from the U.S. military. Focus on those weapons could trigger a larger federal investigation.
Turgal was careful to distinguish the ongoing federal investigation from the Wednesday shootings in Gilbert that took the lives of Lisa Lynn Mederos, 47, Ready's girlfriend; Lisa's daughter Amber Mederos, 23; Amber's 15-month-old daughter, Lilly; and Amber's boyfriend Jim "Jambob" Hiott, 24.