When Mary Ann Morgan pulled up to the Beaver Creek border crossing on October 27, she told guards about the 32-calibre Beretta pistol in the back of the truck.
But the Alaskan militia member, trying to cross into Canada, didn’t mention the pipe-bomb plans or biotoxin recipes.
Morgan, who was arrested with the handgun and a “horde of documents”- including instructions on how to manufacture bombs and biotoxins – has a bail hearing today in Fairbanks.
Federal Prosecutors in Alaska are asking that bail be denied for Morgan, 53, a member of the right-wing Alaskan Peacemakers Militia.
Morgan has a decade-old felony conviction for “custodial interference.”
She’s facing state and federal charges for being in possession of the pistol.
A search of her truck also turned up a plethora of literature on how to conceal weapons, build pipe bombs and manufacture ricin – a deadly toxin made from castor beans, that’s been used as a biological weapon.
Other than the literature, her car contained “little to no personal effects,” according to court documents.
Prosecutors in Alaska want Morgan held without bail, arguing that she’s a flight risk.
Citing her belief in the Sovereign Citizens movement, prosecutors wrote, “(She is) totally incapable of abiding by the conditions issued by this court.”
Adherents to the Sovereign Citizens movement don’t believe they are subject to any statutes or proceedings of federal, state or municipal governments.
One of the documents found in Morgan’s truck was a homemade cease and desist order signed by Morgan addressed to the Alaska Trial Courts.
In July, Morgan’s friend, David Rohner, was set to appear before the court for a traffic violation.
Morgan sent the “cease and desist order” to the court asserting that Rohner was an “ambassador” and outside the jurisdiction of state law.
“(If) the court persisted with the charges it could ‘be perceived as an act of war,’” the document stated.
The order also attempted to put a $150,000 commercial lien on the judge’s property or wages.
During her initial appearance before the court to face the firearms charges, Morgan refused to give her name and demanded to appear before a grand jury.
Why Morgan would try to cross the border with an illegal handgun and where she was going remains a mystery.
But Norman Olson has a theory.
Olson, the founder of the Alaskan Citizens Militia, said he met Morgan a few times, but she was not a part of his organization.
He described her as “balanced, principled and harmless.”
Olson speculated that Morgan wanted to get caught.
“I think it was a political protest,” he said. “No one would deliberately break the law, in that way, at that place unless it was a political statement.”
Olson said that he doesn’t think that she had any intention of actually entering Canada.
“I don’t think she did it ignorantly or without purpose,” he said. “I personally think that it has to do with her connection to Schaeffer Cox.”
Cox was the leader of the Alaska Peacemakers Militia. He, along with four other members of the organization, face federal charges over an alleged plot to murder state and federal agents.
Morgan was the secretary of the militia and an outspoken defender of Cox.
Last month, conspiracy charges against the militia members were dropped after courts deemed over 100 hours of FBI audio and video surveillance inadmissible.
However, all four defendants, including Cox, remain in prison.
They’re still facing weapons charges and two of them are accused of a separate plot to kill a federal employee.
Morgan is currently under investigation by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.
During her preliminary bail hearing today, prosecutors are expected to offer additional witness testimony and exhibits at the hearing, according to court documents.
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