Sixteen months after their armed standoff with federal officials ended in a peaceful, undercover arrest, Ed and Elaine Brown were back in New Hampshire yesterday to face weapons and conspiracy charges for their activities.
If found guilty, the couple could receive what amount to life sentences. Just one charge, for possession of destructive devices, carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years in prison.
The Browns, who were convicted of tax-related felonies in January 2007, fled authorities and holed up in their fortified and well-provisioned Plainfield home for nearly nine months. They entertained guests, accumulated weapons, spoke with news reporters and threatened violence against any agent who tried to arrest them.
(ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW)
An 11-count indictment unsealed yesterday accuses the Browns of conspiring with supporters to interfere with arrest attempts and stockpile weapons and homemade bombs. The indictment describes pipe bombs, exploding rifle targets, improvised booby trap guns and cans of gunpowder wrapped with nails. In testimony during the trial of several supporters last year, federal agents described finding Ed Brown’s fingerprints on several of the devices, which were scattered strategically around the house near detonation cords, matches and high-powered rifles.
Throughout their tax trial and the standoff, the Browns challenged the authority of the federal government, saying repeatedly that no law required them to pay taxes and that they were not subject to federal jurisdiction.