LAS VEGAS (AP) — A sting operation stopped a plot to abduct, torture and kill police officers to bring attention to the antiauthority sovereign citizen movement, Las Vegas police said Thursday.
David Allen Brutsche and Devon Campbell Newman were arrested at an apartment a few miles off the Vegas Strip before they could carry out a plan to snatch officers, "put them on trial" and execute them in a vacant house, Las Vegas police Lt. James Seebock said.
Federal authorities regard sovereign citizen extremists as domestic terrorists. Authorities have linked sovereign citizens groups with violent confrontations in recent years, including deadly shootings in Louisiana and Arkansas.
Brutsche, 42, and Newman, 67, wanted to draw attention to the group's rejection of governmental authority, making the case a domestic terror plot, Seebock said.
"They were furthering their 'sovereign citizen' ideology by committing criminal acts toward law enforcement," he said.
Brutsche and Newman were held in Clark County jail pending court appearances on charges including conspiracy to commit murder and attempted kidnapping. It was not immediately clear whether they had lawyers.
The investigation began when an unidentified undercover officer befriended Brutsche and Newman in April, police said.
The three participated in meetings and training sessions about sovereign citizen philosophy and later shopped for guns and discussed plans to track and videotape police officers to determine whom to abduct, according to a 10-page arrest report.
They found a vacant house and rigged it with bolts drilled into wall supports, creating a makeshift jail where they planned to bind captive officers to cross beams for interrogation, police said.