A Kenai Peninsula woman was indicted by a federal grand jury on a gun-related charge in Anchorage on Nov. 17.
Mary Ann Morgan, 64, faces a single charge of convicted felon in possession of a firearm. She is the sole defendant named in the indictment.
The indictment alleges that on Oct. 27, Morgan, who as a convicted felon was prohibited from possessing a firearm, was found in possession of a handgun. It further alleges that Morgan was convicted in 2001 in Homer of the state felony offense of first-degree custodial interference—removal of a child from the state.
The Joint Terrorism Task Force of the FBI investigated the incident, which occurred at the Alaska Highway border crossing into Canada. According to the criminal complaint filed by the plaintiff, Morgan was trying to cross over, and declared to the Canadian Border Security Agency that she was in possession of a firearm.
During a subsequent search of her car, authorities found a .32-caliber Beretta handgun and she was turned over to American border agents and Alaska State Troopers.
Within two days, Morgan was charged under state law for the weapons violation. She was also charged in federal court two days later, and court records revealed the terrorism task force out of Fairbanks had been assigned to the case.
According to press reports, Morgan is a member of the Alaska militia movement and a self-proclaimed sovereign citizen connected with Schaeffer Cox, an Alaska militiaman charged in an alleged plot to kill and kidnap Troopers.
Morgan is an unusual individual, Norman Olson of Nikiski, commander of the Alaska Citizen’s Militia, said. The two have “broken bread” together. She’s extremely passionate about her patriotism, he said.
“She and Cox think alike,” he said. “They’re cut from the same cloth. They’re both ultra patriots who reject the for-profit courts in Alaska, and they both cling to their sovereignty.”
The state’s murder conspiracy case against Cox and his militia associates fell apart several weeks ago, and Morgan is an addition to the people connected with Cox that are in custody on state and federal charges.
Internet posts by Olson on the Alaska Citizen’s Militia forum state the terrorism task force is trying to create a link between Cox and Morgan’s behavior and will do so very soon.
Others contributing to the forum argue that it is a non-militia event and should be steered clear of.
It is unclear to Olson why Morgan tried to enter Canada with a firearm, but he said it’s evident that she was arrested on purpose.
“My own personal belief is that she and Cox are such good friends that she wanted to enter the system in order to try the system and see what would happen,” he said.
Morgan was a frequent contributor to the forum. In her writings she has rejected the authority of U.S. courts.
“I believe that her defense could possibly be that she is mentally unstable by reason of ultra-patriotism,” Olson jested. “Think of how many other people in this country that are patriotic are going to use a similar defense. ‘I’m sorry. I didn’t know what I was doing. I was clutching the flag too firmly and reading the Constitution at the same time, and I’m sorry my behavior isn’t accepted by the central government.’”
Assistant United States Attorneys Steven Skrocki and Joseph Bottini, who presented the case to the grand jury, indicated that the weapons charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, or both.
Under federal sentencing statutes, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history of the defendant. Morgan remains in custody pending trial. An arraignment date has not yet been set.
The FBI and Troopers coordinated to conduct the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.