The Sovereign Citizen Movement
Domestic terrorism—Americans attacking Americans because of U.S.-based extremist ideologies—comes in many forms in our post 9/11 world.
Today, we look at a third threat—the “sovereign citizen” extremist movement. Sovereign citizens are anti-government extremists who believe that even though they physically reside in this country, they are separate or “sovereign” from the United States. As a result, they believe they don’t have to answer to any government authority, including courts, taxing entities, motor vehicle departments, or law enforcement.
This causes all kinds of problems—and crimes. For example, many sovereign citizens don’t pay their taxes. They hold illegal courts that issue warrants for judges and police officers. They clog up the court system with frivolous lawsuits and liens against public officials to harass them. And they use fake money orders, personal checks, and the like at government agencies, banks, and businesses.
That’s just the beginning. Not every action taken in the name of the sovereign citizen ideology is a crime, but the list of illegal actions committed by these groups, cells, and individuals is extensive (and puts them squarely on our radar). In addition to the above, sovereign citizens:
Sovereign citizens are often confused with extremists from the militia movement. But while sovereign citizens sometimes use or buy illegal weapons, guns are secondary to their anti-government, anti-tax beliefs. On the other hand, guns and paramilitary training are paramount to militia groups.
During the past year, we’ve had a number of investigative successes involving sovereign citizens. A few recent cases:
You can help. First, “be crime smart”—don’t fall for the bogus claims and scams of sovereign citizens. And second, if you have information on any suspicious activities or crimes, please contact us.