Nye County Sheriff’s deputies were forced to perform a cutoff maneuver during a traffic stop last week.
The incident occurred just after 11 a.m. along Basin Avenue near the rodeo grounds after the driver of the vehicle refused to pull over.
Sheriff Tony DeMeo said the occupants of the vehicle belong to a fringe anti-government group and consider themselves “sovereign citizens.” They actually fought with deputies to avoid arrest.
The sheriff said that so-called sovereign citizens believe they are not subject to any statutes or proceedings at the federal, state, or municipal levels.
He also said his office has learned that local membership within the anti-government group is growing.
“They don’t recognize the United States of America or believe in the government or any of our laws and we are finding out that there are many members. This is not the first time we’ve come across them. We actually had arrested sovereign citizen members in the past who have committed similar incidents,” he said.
A deputy attempted to pull over the late model black Range Rover traveling eastbound on Basin Avenue near David Street when the male driver was observed talking on a cell phone.
According to the arrest report, the driver continued on even after the deputy initiated lights and sirens.
Additional deputies were dispatched to the area where the vehicle was effectively blocked by an NCSO cruiser that was westbound on Basin.
Once the vehicle came to a halt, DeMeo said deputies sensed something was not right about the occupants as they approached the vehicle.
“The problem we had here was we believe the male was reaching for a gun. That was the impression because he was fumbling around at the side of the door, but on that vehicle all of the controls are in the center console,” he said.
The male driver of the vehicle was detained in handcuffs while deputies secured the scene.
The female passenger, meanwhile, chose to challenge the deputies by refusing to cooperate with commands to exit the vehicle, thus a brief struggle ensued.
DeMeo said a loaded handgun was eventually located inside the vehicle once the female was placed in handcuffs.
“We were very relieved when we found the handgun. He had it wrapped up and was trying to get to it,” he said.
The sheriff said the vehicle did not have valid license plates, which was why deputies initiated the traffic stop.
“They had no valid registration and that’s why they were stopped. They also did not pull over right away and they had to be cut off,” he said.
Additionally, DeMeo said both of the anti-government occupants of the vehicle made an odd request after deputies finally placed them in custody.
“The first thing out of their mouths when the deputies finally made contact with them was ‘I want my lawyer.’ It’s very interesting because they don’t recognize our constitution, government or any kind of authority and they don’t believe they have to pay for anything. The fact that they told the deputies they wanted a lawyer shows they are not true believers in their anti-government cause. That’s just my opinion,” DeMeo said.
The driver, identified as Cagnolatty Delano Karl, 21, remains behind bars at the Nye County Detention Center on a no-bail warrant from Los Angeles for grand theft auto.
Karl faces numerous charges including possession of a firearm with no serial number, driving without a valid license, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle and resisting arrest.
Passenger Julie Marie Harris, charged with resisting a peace officer, has since been released.
DeMeo said the vehicle was not registered and the plates identified with the sovereign citizen movement.
Last summer, two Nevada residents were arrested for plotting to torture and kill Las Vegas police officers to draw attention to the sovereign citizen movement.
David Allen Brutsche and Devon Campbell Newman reportedly attended sovereign citizen philosophy training sessions, bought guns, and located a vacant home for their activities.
Newman eventually pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of conspiracy to commit false imprisonment and was sentenced to one year of probation.
Brutsche, meanwhile, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap a police officer and was sentenced to five years probation.