Militia extremists with illegal cache of weapons arrested on the way to “pick people off” in Kenosha
Matthew D. Krueger, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced on September 3 that Michael M. Karmo and Cody E. Smith of Missouri were charged by criminal complaint with illegal possession of firearms after being arrested on September 1 at a hotel in Pleasant Prairie.
As alleged in the criminal complaint, on September 1, the Kenosha Police Department advised the FBI that a law enforcement agency in Iowa had received a tip that Karmo and an unidentified male were in possession of firearms and traveling from Missouri to Kenosha to to possibly “loot” and “pick people off.”
FBI agents subsequently located and detained Karmo and Smith at a hotel in Pleasant Prairie, which is located near Kenosha. After receiving consent to search Karmo and Smith’s vehicle and hotel room, FBI agents recovered an Armory AR-15 assault rifle, a Mossberg 500 AB 12-Gauge shotgun, two handguns, a silencer, ammunition, body armor, a drone, and other materials.
In an interview with law enforcement, Smith claimed that they attended a rally for President Donald Trump “outside of a high school in Kenosha” and wanted to see “proof of the rioting.” They claimed to be planning a drive to Portland next, saying they were willing to “take action” if police were defunded. Photos were also collected from Karmo’s social media account, including one that appears to show him posing with a gun in front of a Blue Lives Matter flag.
In his interview with law enforcement, Karmo said he and Smith were roommates for about four weeks and were part of the 417 Second Amendment Militia. Karmo has prior felony convictions. Smith has a prior misdemeanor domestic battery conviction and acknowledged regular drug use. Consequently, both Karmo and Smith were prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition on September 1.
The criminal complaint charges Karmo with violating 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) (Felon in Possession of a Firearm). The criminal complaint charges Smith with violating 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 2 (Aiding and Abetting a Felon’s Possession of Firearms); 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9) (Possession of Firearms and Ammunition by a Prohibited Person – Misdemeanor Domestic Violence); and 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3) (Possession of Firearms and Ammunition by a Prohibited Person – Unlawful User of a Controlled Substance). Each of these offenses carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervision after release from prison.
If convicted, both men could face up to 10 years in federal prison. The case was investigated by the FBI, with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), the Kenosha Police Department, the Village of Pleasant Prairie Police Department, the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office, the Kenosha County District Attorney’s Office, and local law enforcement in the state of Iowa.