Feds seize handguns, arrest supremacist

Cincinnati Enquirer/April 16, 1999
By Sheila McLaughlin and Michael D. Clark

Wayne Township -- For nearly a year since Kale Kelly's release from an Ohio prison, federal agents kept an eye on the white separatist who had a history of drug trafficking and weapons charges.

At 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, about 15 agents from the FBI and Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms (ATF) swooped down on an Oregonia barn on North Waynesville Road, where Mr. Kelly, a member of the Aryan Nation, lived for more than a month.

They carted away a small cache of handguns. The raid occurred a few hours after agents surprised Mr. Kelly at a Clearcreek Township construction site off Ohio 73, where he was working as a bricklayer. They arrested him for federal firearms violations.

"We arrested him based on the ATF warrant ... that there was probable cause to believe, as a convicted felon, he was carrying a handgun," said Ed Boldt, the FBI's Cincinnati spokesman.

Mr. Kelly, 38, was not armed at the time of his arrest, but several handguns were found in the barn, Mr. Boldt said.

Mr. Kelly, jailed at the Hamilton County Justice Center, is scheduled to appear for a bond hearing 3 p.m. today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jack Sherman Jr. in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati.

Edward Ingram, owner of the property, told the Enquirer that he owned the guns. Mr. Ingram's daughter was living with Mr. Kelly in the barn.

Mr. Kelly was released from prison April 30, 1998, after serving a year for carrying a concealed weapon in Clinton County.

His arrest in 1997 occurred at a time when Clinton County authorities were trying to shut down Aryan Nation activity at the Church of Jesus Christ Christian in New Vienna. The church, headed by Harold "Ray" Redfeairn, was the white separatist group's headquarters in Ohio.

According to the FBI, Mr. Kelly was sentenced in 1991 to the federal penitentiary in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., for four years for distributing a controlled substance when he was in the Army.

Federal authorities refused to say why they were keeping tabs on Mr. Kelly before Wednesday's arrest. Mr. Boldt said the agency "does not dis cuss details of ongoing investigations."

"The FBI has the responsibility to conduct investigations of individuals or groups who we believe may be plotting criminal acts ... I would like to tell you we caught a (white supremacist) who was planning to bomb the federal building in Cincinnati, but that's just not the case."

Police in Clinton and Warren counties said they were contacted by the FBI several times over past months about Mr. Kelly's whereabouts, because of his affiliation with the Aryan Nation.

"They called every few weeks on what he was driving and things," Col. Ralph Fizer Jr. of the Clinton County Sheriff's Office said Thursday.

He said Mr. Kelly was Mr. Redfeairn's "right-hand-man. Redfeairn basically treated him like his son."

Mr. Redfeairn, 47, was released from prison March 30, 1998, after serving a six-month sentence out of Warren County for carrying a concealed weapon. Waynesville Police Chief Allen Carter said he has heard Mr. Redfeairn is living in Michigan.

In the past two months, his church appears to have closed in New Vienna, Col. Fizer said.

Even while Mr. Kelly was in prison, the FBI warned Clinton County sheriff's officials that Mr. Kelly allegedly had threatened "to get even with" the deputy who sent him there.

"We just had our guys being real cautious when we learned he was getting out," Col. Fizer said, adding that deputies were relieved to hear of Mr. Kelly's arrest.

In Waynesville, police have been sharing information with the FBI for months, Police Chief Allen Carter said. His department arrested Mr. Redfeairn in 1997.

The village of Waynesville is in Warren County on Ohio 73, a main artery into the New Vienna area, which is 12 miles outside Wilmington in Clinton County.

"We've dealt with some of the Aryan Nations people. We knew we were going to be having dealings with them so we kept track on who's who and what's what in the area," Chief Carter said. "Just with the compound in New Vienna, they are through here quite a bit."

Mr. Ingram said FBI and ATF agents armed with shotguns and rifles rushed onto his property, near the banks of the Little Miami River, about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

"They went all through my stuff. They didn't find nothing but some handguns and they belong to me," he said.

Mr. Ingram, a self-described member of the Ku Klux Klan, said he supports the Aryan Nation but is not a member. His daughter is Mr. Kelly's girlfriend.

He displays an Aryan Nation flag next to his Waynesville Road home. On his property across the road stands a large wooden cross between a Confederate flag and a U.S. flag.

Mr. Ingram, a 57-year-old retiree, said he thinks Mr. Kelly "was singled out" by federal agents because of his white supremacist beliefs and because he occasionally visited the Church of Jesus Christ Christian in New Vienna.

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