Massachusetts militiamen to appear in court over hours-long armed interstate standoff incident
Ten of the 11 militiamen arrested by Massachusetts State Police following a nine-hour-long armed standoff that shut down a portion of Interstate 95 over the holiday weekend will be arraigned Tuesday.
The alleged militiamen, who authorities say are members of the Rise of the Moors group which adheres to "Moorish Sovereign Ideology," each have been charged with eight counts of unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, use of body armor in commission of a crime, possession of a high capacity magazine, improper storage of a firearm in a vehicle, and conspiracy to commit a crime.
Five men will be arraigned individually Tuesday morning in Malden District Court in Medford, Mass., while another five will appear separately for their arraignment hearings in the afternoon, Fox News has learned.
None of the men, who were dressed in military fatigues and body armor and were armed with long guns and pistols, had a license to carry firearms in Massachusetts. The standoff began early Saturday when a Massachusetts State Police trooper stopped to offer assistance to two vehicles he found with their hazards on around 1:30 a.m. on the side of the highway in the town of Wakefield. Police later said the vehicles were refueling.
The trooper called for backup and most of the group went into the nearby woods until they surrendered to a police tactical team just after 10 a.m. The standoff closed Interstate 95 in the area during the busy holiday weekend and some area residents were told to shelter in place.
Traffic on Interstate 95 is diverted in the area of an hours long standoff with a group of armed men that partially shut down the highway, Saturday, July 3, 2021, in Wakefield, Mass. (Photo By Mary Schwalm/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
The group told police they were traveling from Rhode Island to Maine to conduct "training." Troopers recovered three AR-15 rifles, two pistols, a bolt-action rifle, a shotgun and a short-barrel rifle. Massachusetts State Police said in a statement Saturday that "additional charges are possible if the ongoing investigation, including the expected search of the defendants’ two vehicles, determines they are warranted."
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During the standoff one member of the group broadcast on a social media account for the group "Rise of the Moors" that they were not anti-government or anti-police. The website for the group says they are "Moorish Americans dedicated to educating new Moors and influencing our Elders." The group’s Facebook, YouTube and Instagram accounts had been taken offline by early Sunday, the Boston Herald reported.
Those identified by state police include Jamhal Tavon Sanders Latimer, a.k.a. Jamhal Talib Abdullah Bey, 29, of Providence, R.I.; Robert Rodriguez, 21, of the Bronx, N.Y.; Wilfredo Hernandez, a.k.a. Will Musa, 23, of the Bronx, N.Y.; Alban El Curraugh, 27, of the Bronx, N.Y.; Aaron Lamont Johnson, a.k.a. Tarrif Sharif Bey, 29, of Detroit, Mich.; Quinn Cumberlander, 40, of Pawtucket, R.I.; Lamar Dow, 34, of the Bronx, N.Y.; and Conrad Pierre, 29, of Baldwin, N.Y. Authorities have not named the 17-year-old male also arrested, and two additional males have so far refused to identify themselves.
The 17-year-old was released into parental custody, while the remaining adult defendants were held at the Billerica House of Correction on $100,000 cash bail before Tuesday's court appearances.
Hernandez, Johnson, Dow and the juvenile are also each facing one count of furnishing a false name to police.