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May 7, 2012 3

American Front Members Arrested on Hate Crimes, Conspiracy Charges

Patri­cia Faella

Fed­eral, state and local author­i­ties arrested much of the core mem­ber­ship of the Florida con­tin­gent of the white suprema­cist Amer­i­can Front this past week­end on hate crimes and con­spir­acy charges.   The Amer­i­can Front is one of the old­est hard­core racist skin­head groups in the United States, with a mem­ber­ship con­cen­trated pri­mar­ily in north­ern Cal­i­for­nia and cen­tral Florida.

At least seven peo­ple, all from the greater Orlando area in cen­tral Florida, have been arrested; addi­tional arrests may ensue.  Mem­bers picked up so far include Mar­cus Faella, 39; Patri­cia Faella, 36; Mark McGowan, 29; Jen­nifer McGowan, 25; Diane Stevens, 28; Kent McLel­lan, 22; and Paul Jack­son, 25.   The Fael­las have played some­thing of a lead­er­ship role within the Amer­i­can Front since the shoot­ing death of its pre­vi­ous leader, David Lynch, in Cal­i­for­nia in 2011.
Mar­cus Faella

Pros­e­cu­tors have charged the Fael­las and the McGowans with crim­i­nal con­spir­acy and a hate crime.  McGowan and his wife Jen­nifer have report­edly also been charged with ille­gal para­mil­i­tary training—providing firearms or explo­sives train­ing with the inten­tion of com­mit­ting civil dis­or­der. Diane Stevens was also charged with crim­i­nal con­spir­acy and com­mit­ting a hate crime.   Charg­ing details for the oth­ers arrested are not yet avail­able, nor has the nature of the alleged con­spir­acy yet been made public.

A num­ber of Florida Amer­i­can Front mem­bers have been involved in crim­i­nal activ­ity.  It was only in 2010 that McLel­lan was sen­tenced to a year in prison after being con­victed of van­dal­iz­ing a local restau­rant and church with white suprema­cist graf­fiti in 2008.   In May 2010, another Florida Amer­i­can Front mem­ber, Christo­pher Brooks of St. Cloud, pleaded guilty in Vir­ginia for his role in a syn­a­gogue van­dal­ism there in 2009.  That same year, Florida Amer­i­can Front mem­ber Richard Adam Stock­dale served time for bat­tery charges.

The Amer­i­can Front is one of a large num­ber of hate groups with a pres­ence in Florida.  It includes sub­groups such as the Valkyrie Corps for female mem­bers and the Amer­i­can Patriot Brigade for new mem­bers, referred to as “probates.”