More than a dozen people allegedly affiliated with white-supremacist group American Front and a plot to attack a rival group in Melbourne have been formally charged with participating in paramilitary training, according to state officials.
Local 6 news partner Florida Today reports Lawson Lamar, state attorney for the ninth judicial circuit of Florida, which includes Osceola County where the conduct allegedly occurred, also announced a 14th suspect in the case Friday. Charges have been filed against the 14th suspect; however the person’s identity has not been released.
The alleged leader of the group, Marcus Faella, 39, now faces charges of directing the activities of a gang, teaching paramilitary training, conspiracy to shoot at, within or into a building and participating in paramilitary training. Eight others are also accused of conspiracy to shoot at, within or into a building and all fourteen face charges of participation in paramilitary training.
“Today Central Floridians sent a strong message to our communities – the message that criminal behavior whose thesis is hate and intolerance will not be allowed to flourish in our neighborhoods,” Lamar said in a statement.
The arrests followed a two-year investigation using a confidential informant. The group allegedly plotted what Faella thought was an impending “race war” from Faella’s home in St. Cloud, according to arrest documents. At the St. Cloud compound they trained with firearms and fashioned weapons to cause disturbances at City Hall in Orlando and at a May 1 protest in Melbourne, according to the documents.
Many of the suspects arrested in the case have ties to Brevard County.
Those accused are: John Wyczlinski, 33, of Venice; Faella and his wife, Patricia Faella, 36, of rural St. Cloud; Lewis, 40; Mark McGowan, 29, and Jennifer McGowan, 25, of the Canaveral Groves area; Christopher Brooks, 27, and Dylan Rettenmaier, 25, of Palm Bay; Paul Jackson, 25, and Kent McLellan, 22, of St. Cloud; and Diane Stevens, 28, Richard Stockdale, 23, and Dustin Perry, 27, of Kissimmee.
State attorneys officials said they had not calculated possible sentences if the suspects were to be convicted, adding that the charges are allegations and are not proof of guilt.