LAS VEGAS — A sting operation stopped a plot to abduct, torture and kill police officers to bring attention to the anti-authority sovereign citizen movement, Las Vegas police said Thursday.
David Allen Brutsche and Devon Campbell Newman were arrested at an apartment a few miles off the Strip before they could carry out a plan to snatch officers, “put them on trial” and execute them in a vacant house, Las Vegas police Lt. James Seebock said.
Federal authorities regard sovereign citizen extremists as domestic terrorists. Authorities have linked sovereign citizen groups with violent confrontations in recent years, including deadly shootings in Louisiana and Arkansas.
Brutsche, 42, and Newman, 67, wanted to draw attention to the group's rejection of governmental authority, making the case a domestic terrorism plot, Seebock said.
"They were furthering their sovereign citizen ideology by committing criminal acts toward law enforcement,” he said.
Brutsche and Newman were held in Clark County jail pending court appearances on charges including conspiracy to commit murder and attempted kidnapping.
The investigation began when an unidentified undercover officer befriended Brutsche and Newman in April, police said. Hundreds of hours of conversation were recorded over the course of 30 meetings with the undercover officer, police said.
"We need to arrest the police and take them to our jail and put them in a cell and put them on trial in a people's court," Brutsche said July 9, according to the arrest report. "If we run into the position that they resist, then we need to kill them."
Police identified Brutsche as a six-time convicted felon and child sex offender from California. Authorities did not detail a further criminal background for Newman.