The 11 armed people arrested in a standoff on a Massachusetts freeway that blocked traffic for hours were charged with a host of firearm-related offenses, authorities said Sunday. 8 of the 11 people arrested have been identified.
Parts of I-95 were shut down Saturday and a shelter in place order issued nearby after the standoff with the heavily armed group began around 2 a.m. Troopers recovered three AR-15 rifles, two pistols, a bolt-action rifle, a shotgun and a short-barrel rifle. The group refers to itself as a militia and said they adhere to “Moorish Sovereign Ideology,” police said. The standoff began early Saturday when a Massachusetts State Police trooper stopped to offer assistance to the vehicles he found on the side of the highway in the town of Wakefield. Police later said they 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. The group told police they traveling from Rhode Island to Maine to conduct “training.” None of the suspects had a licence to carry firearms.
The website for the group says they are “Moorish Americans dedicated to educating new Moors and influencing our Elders.” The Southern Poverty Law Center says the Moorish sovereign citizen movement is a collection of independent organizations and individuals that emerged in the 1990s as an offshoot of the antigovernment sovereign citizens’ movement. People in the movement believe individual citizens hold sovereignty over, and are independent of, the authority of federal and state governments.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NEWS8000.COM
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