Traffic stop stumbles across heavily armed ‘sovereign citizens’ in California

California police arrested three “sovereign citizens” near Joshua Tree National Park after they found live ammunition and an explosive device during a traffic stop.

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies made the discovery after pulling over a Ford Taurus vehicle, and say they later found more weapons and ammunition at a remote property.

Officials say that David Russell, 50, and Jeffery Russell, 46, identified themselves as sovereign citizens, a group whose members believe they are exempt from US law.

Deputies say they then found “live ammunition, black gunpowder, and an improvised military-grade explosive device” inside the car. The explosive device was safely disposed of.

When officers performed a records check they discovered that both men are banned from possessing and owning firearms.

Deputies, with the help of Bomb and Arson, then carried out a search of a property in Johnson Valley, California, where the Russells live, and say they found more military-grade explosives, ammunition, and firearms. During the search, Venus Mooney, 54, was also arrested.

All three were booked at the Morongo Basin jail for possession of an explosive device and possession of a controlled substance while armed.

They are being held without bail until they can appear in court.

“They clog up the courts with indecipherable filings and, when cornered, many of them lash out, retaliating through acts of paper terrorism and, in the most extreme cases, acts of deadly violence – usually directed against government officials,” the Southern Poverty Law Center says of the sovereign citizens movement.

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