ORLANDO, Fla. — Three top members of a white supremacist group were among at least seven people arrested on hate crime charges in Osceola County, records show.
Marcus Faella; his wife Patricia Faella; and Mark McGowan, local directors of the American Front, were arrested Friday on several charges, including committing a hate crime and criminal conspiracy.
One of the charges 29-year-old McGowan faces involves “paramilitary training” — specifically teaching another person to either make or use a firearm or destructive device while knowing or intending that it “will be unlawfully employed for use in, or in furtherance of, a civil disorder within the United States.” McGowan’s wife, 25-year-old Jennifer McGowan, also faces that charge.
Marcus Faella, 39, and Patricia Faella, 36, were jailed in Osceola County on Friday and have since bonded out.
Florida corporation filings show the purpose of the St. Cloud, Fla.-based American Front Inc. is “Religious and cultural preservation of the European people.”
However, the Anti-Defamation League identifies American Front as “a racist skinhead group” active in several states.
The Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation is reportedly investigating along with local law enforcement officers assigned to an FBI task force. The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team helped arrest the Faellas at their home in a desolate area of the county east of Holopaw, according to interviews.
Authorities also arrested other suspected members of the American Front — Diane Stevens, 28; Kent McLellan, 22; and Paul Jackson, 25.
According to Facebook, Mark McGowan went to Melbourne High School. He reports he works for Deseret Cattle & Citrus. Jennifer McGowan said on Facebook she is a court reporter.
Diane Stevens, whose mug shot shows that she has at least one swastika tattoo, is a former certified nursing assistant. It’s unclear where she worked.
McLellan, who served prison time for a criminal mischief conviction out of Putnam County, has tattoos of a swastika, the Aryan Nation symbol and others.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, he has been arrested nine times in the state, most recently in March 2011, when he was booked in Osceola County on burglary, aggravated stalking and contempt of court charges.
©2012 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)