Toledo felon linked to white supremacist groups sentenced to prison for stashing weapons, ammunition

The Plain Dealer, Ohio/December 19, 2013

By John Caniglia

Cleveland, Ohio --- Richard Schmidt, a felon linked to white supremacist groups, was sentenced to 71 months in federal prison Thursday for illegally possessing 18 guns, body armor and 40,000 rounds of ammunition.

Prosecutors have said Schmidt, 48, of Toledo, possessed the weapons to prepare for what he thought would be a race war. Authorities said he had materials from the National Alliance and the National Socialist Movement.

U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary in Toledo sentenced Schmidt in a case that began when agents initially tracked packages of counterfeit sports jerseys from China to Schmidt. Last December, federal agents raided Schmidt's home and business, Spindletop Sports Zone in a Bowling Green mall.

Authorities seized the weapons, as well as Schmidt's writing that prosecutors say indicated he planned to target minorities. Schmidt pleaded guilty to gun and counterfeiting charges in July.

Schmidt's attorney, Edward Bryan, said after the sentencing that Schmidt had no plans to harm anyone. He called Schmidt a hoarder who feared the day the U.S. economy would collapse.

"The motives behind his possession of firearms were not sinister,'' Bryan said. "He firmly believed that we live in a very unstable world, and the only people who will survive are those who are prepared.''

But prosecutors said Schmidt is someone to be feared.

"Someone like Mr. Schmidt simply should not have such easy access to this kind of firepower,'' said U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach. "He had a prior homicide conviction and yet was able to assemble an arsenal of 18 firearms, including three assault weapons, 40,000 rounds of ammunition, hundred-plus round ammo clips and body armor. All (was) kept conveniently on his person or in a shopping mall -- along with his 'list' of potential targets.''

An initial pre-sentence report indicated that based on his crimes, Schmidt could receive between 63 and 78 months in prison. But Duncan Brown, an assistant U.S. Attorney, pushed for nearly double that, saying that one of the guns Schmidt possessed was stolen from an Ottawa County storage locker in 2010, and that Schmidt used the weapons to further his crime of counterfeiting.

Schmidt is prohibited from possessing weapons because he pleaded guilty to manslaughter and felonious assault. On Aug. 21, 1989, Schmidt and a friend left a bar and began arguing with three people. Anthony Torres, 20, grabbed a baseball bat; Schmidt grabbed a 9 mm semiautomatic and opened fire, according to state parole records and published reports.

He killed Torres with three shots into the chest. Schmidt fired more shots, striking two friends of Torres in the legs, the parole records show. He served 13 years in prison.

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