‘Sovereign citizens’ arrested in California with guns, ammunition, bombs

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'Sovereign citizens' arrested in California with guns, ammunition, bombs

Three people were arrested in California over the weekend, found with guns and explosives while claiming to be so-called sovereign citizen, police confirmed Monday. Photo by Carl Ballou/Shutterstock

Three people were arrested in California over the weekend, found with guns and explosives while claiming to be so-called sovereign citizens, police confirmed Monday.

Officers initially stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation on Twentynine Palms Highway, outside Joshua Tree National Park. They found live ammunition, black gunpowder, and an improvised military-grade explosive device inside the vehicle, according to deputies with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Basin Sheriff’s Station.

“While continuing to investigate, deputies learned additional explosives were located on a property in Johnson Valley,” the department said in a release.

With the help of bomb and arson specialists, officers searched the remote sovereign citizen compound in Johnson Valley, Calif. They found further military-grade explosives, ammunition, and firearms and also arrested a woman at the compound.

David Russell, Jeffrey Russell, and Venus Mooney are all from Johnson Valley. All three have been charged with possession of an explosive device and possession of a controlled substance while armed. They are being held without bail, ahead of their next court appearance.

Sovereign citizens reject government authority in any form. The movement is growing, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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