ANCHORAGE—U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that Coleman L. Barney from North Pole, Alaska, was sentenced in federal court in Anchorage to five years in prison for conspiracy to possess grenades and silencers and to five years in prison for possession of an unregistered destructive device, with the two sentences to run concurrently.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Bryan presided over the trial in this case and also imposed the two five-year concurrent prison terms on Coleman Barney.
On June 18, 2012, a jury returned guilty verdicts against Coleman Barney, Schaffer Cox, and Lonnie G. Vernon on a majority of charges alleged in the superseding indictment and acquitted them on several other charges. Cox, a local militia leader, and Vernon, a fellow militia member, were found guilty of conspiring to murder federal officials, which carries a possible life sentence. Barney, a fellow militia member, was convicted of conspiracy to possess unregistered silencers and destructive devices, as well as possession of unregistered destructive devices. The jury could not reach a verdict as to one of the counts, which charged Barney with conspiracy to murder federal officials, and that count was later dismissed. The verdicts represented the culmination of an extensive investigation that included obtaining recordings of Vernon, Cox, and Barney discussing the murder of numerous state officials in retaliation for attempting to arrest Cox.
Barney’s sentencing is an important step toward concluding this investigation, which resulted in a six-week trial in June. Sentencing for the Vernon’s and Schaeffer Cox are scheduled to occur this coming November.
Ms. Loeffler said, “The actions of Mr. Barney and his co-conspirators presented a very real and dangerous threat to our community.” She commended “the professional work and dedication of law enforcement in protecting citizens and public servants from these threats.”
Mary Rook, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Alaska added, “This investigation and prosecution found its genesis in the voice of concerned citizens that a group of people, operating under the auspices of a sovereign militia, were planning to murder state and federal officials. As a result of the investigation by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Alaska State Troopers, Coleman Barney and his co-conspirators were arrested before they could carry out their murderous plans.”
Ms. Loeffler commends the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the United States Marshals Service; the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Alaska State Troopers; and the Fairbanks Police Department for the investigation of this case.