Encyclopedia of Modern Worldwide Extremists and Extremist Groups

By Stephen E. Atkins | Go to book overview

V

Vann, Henry Moore (See Muhammad, Abdul Khalid)

Viper Militia

The Viper Militia, an Arizona militia group, planned several major anti-government operations in the mid-1990s. This group, which had only twelve members, operated out of the Phoenix, Arizona, area. Members were anti-government activists who resembled the Arizona Patriots of a decade earlier in size and ideology. They planned to bomb at least seven government buildings and the KPNX television station. Using a videotape demonstrating how to blow up a building, the leaders acquired the same type of explosives that were used in Oklahoma City to destroy the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. Members conducted tests of the explosives in the Tonto National Forest.

The Viper Militia was unknown to federal authorities before a hunter in the national forest tipped them off about the tests of explosives. An undercover agent infiltrated the group and exposed its plans. Federal agents raided the Viper Militia on July 1, 1996, and arrested all the members. Only one of the twelve charged escaped without prison time. Charles Knight stood trial and received a sentence of fifty-seven months for conspiracy to make and possess explosives. The others pleaded guilty to making and possessing explosives and were sentenced to prison terms ranging from one to nine years. Critics of the government's case have charged that members of the Viper Militia were upholding their First and Second Amendment rights and the government overreacted. See also Arizona Patriots; Militia Movement.

Suggested readings: James Brooke, “Agents Seize Arsenal of Rifles and Bomb-Making Material in Arizona Militia Inquiry, ” New York Times (July 3, 1996), p. A18; Carol Morello and Gwen Florio, “The Evolution of an Uprising, ” Toronto Star (July 7, 1996), p. F7; Louis Sahagun, “Case Closed, Informant Abandoned, ” Los Angeles Times (November 29, 1997), p. 2B; Louis Sahagun and Tina Daunt, “Agents Link Bombs, Arms to Arizona Militia, ” Los Angeles Times (July 3, 1996), p. A1; Mark Shaffer, “State Game and Fish Employee Infiltrated Viper Militia, ” Arizona Republic (July 4, 1996), p. A1; Robert L. Snow, The Militia Threat: Terrorists Among Us (New York: Plenum Trade, 1999).

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Encyclopedia of Modern Worldwide Extremists and Extremist Groups
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Chronology of Events vii
  • Introduction xxi
  • A 1
  • B 26
  • C 57
  • D 80
  • E 89
  • F 96
  • G 110
  • H 123
  • I 137
  • J 142
  • K 149
  • L 166
  • M 184
  • N 215
  • O 230
  • P 238
  • Q 252
  • R 253
  • S 267
  • T 291
  • U 301
  • V 304
  • W 306
  • Y 326
  • Z 328
  • Selected Bibliography 331
  • Index 339
  • About the Author 375
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