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Ambush suspects linked to anti-gov't group

Aug. 18, 2012 at 10:17 PM   |   Comments

LAPLACE, La., Aug. 18 (UPI) -- The alleged leader of the seven suspects in the ambush of four sheriff's deputies in Louisiana has been linked by police to a violent anti-government group.

Detective Sgt. Angela Looney of the Robertson County (Tenn.) Sheriff's Office, said paperwork she found during her investigation of Terry Lyn Smith on child molestation charges last November led her to believe he was a member of the Sovereign Citizens, a loose group of anti-government organizations classified by the FBI as a domestic terrorism threat, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported Friday.

Smith, 44, is the apparent patriarch of the suspects accused of opening fire on four St. John the Baptist sheriff's deputies in LaPlace, La., Thursday, killing two of them and seriously wounding the others.

Smith was booked Friday with principal to attempted first-degree murder of a police officer. His wife, Chanel Skains, 37; his sons, Brian Smith, 24, and Derrick Smith, 22; Brian Smith's girlfriend, Brittney Keith, 23; an associate, Kyle Joekel, 28; and Teniecha Bright, 21, who lived at the same address as Joekel, all face charges in the case.

The Smiths and Joekel often traveled together from state to state in search of work, the newspaper said. They recently arrived at the Valero Refinery in LaPlace, where Thursday's shootout began in a satellite parking lot for workers.

The Desoto Parish (La.) Sheriff's Office had been monitoring the group after learning about the bulletin out of Tennessee warning of Terry Smith's alleged association with the Sovereign Citizens, the newspaper said.

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