Sting targets white supremacists: Agents' Nazi 'gang' duped suspects

Assistant State Attorney Steve Foster in front of a computer monitor showing undercover video of the Kavallerie Brigade clubhouse located in Osceola County. (Red Huber, Orlando Sentinel)

There were no law-enforcement officers inside that organization. Instead, that investigation relied on a former drug dealer working as a confidential informant for the government. In that capacity, the man received offers to join biker gangs and the Confederate Hammerskins, a skinhead group that required genetic testing to prove racial purity.

Emailing agents late at night, the informant reported on whom he met, the drugs they sold, the guns they carried and violent acts the group was planning.

Much of his work involved sitting on bar stools in Bithlo, Christmas and other small Central Florida towns where drinkers in places such as Hard Racks, Bottle Caps and the Soldier City Saloon belonged to racist groups and motorcycle gangs, according to copies of his emails.

By late summer 2010, the informant began hanging out at the American Front compound in Holopaw, where he joined members shooting AK-47s at water-filled jugs representing the heads of blacks and Jews.

Most of the combat training happened at that 10-acre compound, owned by American Front leader Marcus Faella. The informant mentioned that Faella also traded a motorcycle for a second plot of land — to use as a gun range — where a young black man had been killed, burned and buried in 2010 in a murder not related to the American Front or its members. American Front members used the desecrated grave as a urinal, records state.

The informant continued to work with authorities until his cover was blown in May. Fearing for his life, he called 911 while in a Melbourne movie theater where he had gone with American Front members to watch "The Three Stooges." Arrests of 14 members began May 4 and continued through June.

"I look forward to testifying against all of thease idiots furthermoor I want to thank you for this expeirance priar to this case I had no idea there was so much domestic terrism nor did I care. I will do what ever I can to aradicate domestic terrism and abroud," the informant wrote in an email shortly after the arrests began. "I don't need down time Im eager to get started on the next case!"

The American Front arrests resulted in death threats against the families of Lamar and Kelly Boaz, an Orange County deputy sheriff assigned to the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation who was the lead agent in both investigations.

Almost all the 14 arrested members of the American Front initially were held in lieu of $500,000 bail on charges of participating in paramilitary training evidencing prejudice and planning to shoot into an unidentified building.

'Al Capone theory'

Though the investigation into the Kavallerie Brigade continued until March 29, little information has been released about the group's activities in the past two years. The FBI would not comment while cases remain in court.

Six people were initially arrested in connection with the Kavallerie Brigade operation, including the wives of Klose and Chicago Outlaws President Peter "Big Pete" James.

Leah Klose, 41, faces a drug possession charge after being filmed in the clubhouse "snorting the cocaine after it was cut up by Brian Klose." A drug-possession charge against James' wife, 47-year-old Deborah Plowman, was later dropped, records show.

"This was an inept government investigation looking to throw a wide net to catch anyone doing anything," said Tarpon Springs attorney Jerry Theophilopoulos, who represents Deborah Plowman, whose charges were dropped because of a case of mistaken identity. "How they made such a glaring error is unimaginable."

Three of four remaining members of the Kavallerie Brigade who were arrested face bomb and drug-trafficking charges carrying mandatory sentences of 25 years in prison. The fourth faces bomb charges and a charge of solicitation to commit first-degree murder.

"We decided to strike against the Kavallerie Brigade by bringing these heavy-duty drug charges to shut the active members down," Assistant State Attorney Steve Foster said.

"I hate to be trite, but it's kind of the 'Al Capone theory' of prosecution," Foster said, referring to the notorious gangster ultimately brought down on tax-evasion charges. "We are going to remove them from our community."

Pretrial hearings in both cases begin this week for some of the defendants. or 407-420-2557