An investigation continues into activities of a white separatist group, including drugs and weapons
Friday, March 2, 2001
By Stuart Tomlinson of The Oregonian staff
CORBETT — Federal agents and Clackamas County sheriff’s deputies arrested a Corbett couple Thursday as part of an ongoing investigation into the activities of a white separatist group.
Fritz A. Springmeier, 45, also known as Victor E. Schoff, and his wife, Patricia Springmeier, 46, are accused of first-degree manufacture and distribution of a controlled substance, and conspiracy to manufacture and distribute controlled substances. They are being held in the Clackamas County Jail.
Agents from the FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms as well as sheriff’s deputies searched the couple’s home on Groce Road for several hours Thursday, said Deputy Angela Blanchard, spokeswoman for the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Department.
Blanchard said police seized equipment used to grow marijuana, several weapons and white separatist literature. The weapons were not “anything illegal to have in your home,” she said.
Fritz Springmeier was known for writing books and tracts on the beliefs of the Christian Patriot Association, an ultra-right-wing group based in Boring. “He does a lot of public speaking and proclaims himself to be a self-employed author,” Blanchard said.
Last month, police arrested three people in a Sandy-area home and seized military-style weapons and 50 marijuana plants. Two of the people were released, but a third suspect, Forrest E. Bateman Jr., 29, is being held at the Justice Center Jail in Portland on outstanding warrants for previous charges of assault and illegal possession of an AK-47 assault rifle.
In the Feb. 9 raid, agents also seized a small amount of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil, and literature affiliated with the Army of God, a white supremacist group connected to the 1997 bombings of an abortion clinic and a gay nightclub in Atlanta.
Blanchard said Fritz Springmeier and Bateman met at a Christian Patriot Association meeting several years ago.
“We think that part of their supplemental income came from selling marijuana,” she said. “We believe they were very close and worked in concert together to operate a marijuana grown operation.”
In November, federal agents arrested six members of the Christian Patriot Association on accusations of operating a $186 million “warehouse bank” scheme in Clackamas County that allowed 900 people across the nation to hide their money from the Internal Revenue Service. The case has not yet come to trial.