Purported supremacists plead guilty to gun charge

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Kirby Kehoe By Mike Gertzman Kirby Kehoe By Mike Gertzman
Cheyne Kehoe By Mike Gertzman Cheyne Kehoe By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX (AP) -- Two members of a family who authorities say once tried to set up a whites-only nation in America pleaded guilty Friday to a federal firearm charge arising out of an October raid at the family patriarch's northern Arizona ranch.

Kirby Keith Kehoe and his adult son, Cheyne Christopher Kehoe, admitted that they possessed guns that were seized during the Oct. 14 raid at the elder Kehoe's 40-acre property near Ash Fork, about 140 miles north of Phoenix. Both men have previous felony convictions and are banned from possessing firearms.

Authorities said they found more than a dozen guns, 15,000 rounds of ammunition and three ballistic vests in Kirby Kehoe's possession and three guns and one ballistic vest in his son's possession.

Kirby and Cheyne Kehoe each pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of firearms. They face up to 10 years in prison. Their sentencing is set for May 19.

The Kehoe family has been well-known to law enforcement since the 1990s when authorities say they provided weapons to various white supremacists who committed robberies across the Midwest. Authorities also said the family was involved in a plot to overthrow the federal government and establish the Aryan Peoples Republic in the Pacific Northwest.

Another son, Chevie Kehoe, is serving a life sentence in federal prison for his role in the 1996 killings of an Arkansas gun dealer, his wife and their 8-year-old daughter as part of the plot.

Cheyne Kehoe was convicted of attempted murder for his role in a shootout with Ohio police during a traffic stop northeast of Cincinnati. No officers were injured in the gun battle, but a passer-by was wounded by a bullet fragment.

Kirby Kehoe was convicted of racketeering and possession of illegal weapons in a case related to the plot aimed at overthrowing the government. The elder Kehoe has maintained he was never involved in his sons' efforts to establish a whites-only nation and that he isn't a racist.

An attorney for Cheyne Kehoe has said his client has disavowed white supremacy.

Authorities said Cheyne Kehoe told them that his father had extreme anti-government views, a separatist mentality on race issues and that he actively was seeking to connect with others who have similar viewpoints. Cheyne Kehoe also told authorities that he believed his father would put those views into action when the government or societal order collapsed or if his health was failing to a point where he felt he had nothing else to lose.

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