Phony 'National Militia' Netted 2 Pipe-Bomb Suspects

Denver Rocky Mountain News / August 5, 2000

Two men accused of dealing in illegal pipe bombs thought they were joining a supersecret national organization that shared their white supremacist views, federal court documents say.

But the clandestine "National Militia" the two 20-somethings believed was recruiting them actually consisted of just one person. He was an undercover agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Rex Levi Rabou, 25, of Cheyenne and Carl Joel Carlson, 24, of Kimball, Neb., were arrested in Kimball on Wednesday.

The investigation that led to their arrests began in April, when Sheriff Roger Alsop of Laramie County, Wyo., asked the ATF for help. Alsop reported that the National Alliance, a white supremacist group founded by novelist William Pierce, was recruiting members in the Cheyenne area. Pierce, under the name Andrew McDonald, wrote the 1978 novel The Turner Diaries, said to have inspired Timothy McVeigh's bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995. The novel's plot involves a white supremacist group that bombs a federal building in Washington, D.C.

Documents filed in Denver U.S. District Court this week said Carlson is a regional leader of the National Alliance and Rabou is his chief assistant. The undercover agent's story in Wyoming, according to court documents, was "that he was an operative with a secretive national organization known as the National Militia, visiting the Nebraska / Wyoming area with the purpose of forming a small cell of the National Militia."

The agent also said he was at work "pre-positioning supplies" in the area. The "supplies" were to include pipe bombs. Some were to be used for training militia members, and some were to be used later in "operations," the agent said.

Court documents said both Rabou and Carlson expressed interest in joining the new "cell," recruiting their friends and providing pipe bombs. Rabou allegedly told the agent he had experience in making bombs out of steel pipe and had even made some in shop class.

And in mid-July when the agent visited Rabou's Cheyenne residence, Rabou showed off the work bench in his living room as the place where he made the bombs, explaining that his hacksaw could cut through a steel pipe in about 15 minutes, court documents said.

At two meetings with the agent just south of the Colorado-Wyoming border in June and July, Rabou allegedly handed over a total of 31 steel pipe bombs. Rabou and Carlson both face federal charges, Rabou in Colorado and Carlson in Nebraska. If convicted of transferring unregistered destructive devices, each faces up to 10 years in federal prison.

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