Video & story: Massachusetts State Police identifies militia members arrested after standoff on I-95

[Diversity is leading to new nonsense. Jan]


Massachusetts State Police are able to identify most of the 11 armed militia members who were arrested after a standoff which closed a portion of Interstate 95 in both directions for nearly nine hours Saturday morning.

Members of the group referred to themselves as members of a militia with "Moorish Sovereign Ideology." They told troopers that they were traveling from Rhode Island to Maine to conduct "training."

The situation began when a Massachusetts State Police trooper spotted two vehicles in the breakdown lane with their hazard lights activated on I-95 north at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday and stopped to offer assistance, according to MSP Superintendent Col. Christopher Mason.

The men were dressed in military-style uniforms with fatigues and body armor. State police said they also carried a combination of rifles and pistols, even though troopers later determined none of the men had a license to carry the firearms.

The trooper asked the men for identification and firearms licenses and when the men said they did not have them available, the trooper called for backup, according to Mason.

"At some point during this interaction, a number of those individuals alight into the woodline with their firearms. A perimeter was quickly established," Mason said.

Wakefield residents who live in the areas of Parker Road, Elm Street and North Avenue, as well as Reading residents who live in the Parker Road and Ash Street areas, were ordered to shelter in place during the standoff.

Stoneham police, meanwhile, advised all of the town’s residents to use caution and avoid areas of town that are near Interstate 95.

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A group calling themselves "Moorish American Arms" posted a video on Instagram overnight showing armed members blocking the highway. In addition, live videos from the scene were shared by the YouTube account "Rise of the Moors."

In one of those live YouTube videos, a man stated that he was broadcasting from Interstate 95 in Wakefield near Exit 57.

"We are not anti-government. We are not anti-police, we are not sovereign citizens, we’re not Black identity extremists,” he said. “As specified multiple times to the police, we are abiding by the peaceful journey laws of the United States.”

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The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups and extremists, states that the Moorish sovereign citizen movement is a collection of independent organizations and lone individuals that emerged in the early 1990s as an offshoot of the anti-government sovereign citizens’ movement. Those who are part of the sovereign citizens’ movement believe that individual people hold sovereignty over, and are independent of, the authority of federal and state governments, according to the SPLC.

In an interview with NewsCenter 5, SPLC President and CEO Margaret Huang stated that "Rise of the Moors" is a group that the Southern Poverty Law Center only designated as an extremist group in 2020. Huang continued to say that the group is an anti-government, sovereign group because it does not accept the authority of the United States.

In addition, Huang says the group claims that they are descendants of people who were present in the country when there was a treaty between Morocco and the United States, and therefore, they are not subject to U.S. laws.

"I think the key is that many of these folks may not very well want to have any violence or any confrontation with authorities, but the fact that they do not recognize the authority of the U.S. government to grant licenses, to monitor activities, to protect the public means that there is still a concern," Huang said. "While I am grateful that today did not end up with violence, I hope authorities will continue to monitor and pay close attention to the activities of this group and others."

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At approximately 6:10 a.m., two men were seen being taken into custody on North Avenue during a live report on WCVB. NewsCenter 5 reporter Josh Brogadir said the men, who were wearing fatigues, were walking near a staging area.

"While we were standing in that area, we saw some officers start to run. They came over here and they took these two guys into custody," Brogadir reported.

During a news conference that started at about 11:15 a.m., Mason said the standoff was successfully resolved an hour earlier and that nine additional men were arrested without incident, bringing the total number of suspects in custody to 11.

"We were able to utilize, to great effect, the BearCats. They demonstrated and sent a message that we were serious, that we were resolved about getting this issue ended and ending it in a safe way. The BearCats allow us to do that," he said. "Once those BearCats pressed the scene and moved them in, it had its desired effect and they were compliant very quickly."

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State police say they have recovered eight firearms from the scene thus far: three AR-15 rifles, two pistols, a bolt-action rifle, a shotgun and a short-barrel rifle.

Troopers were able to identify most of the suspects overnight, although several supplied false names and two are refusing to identify themselves.

  1. Jamhal Tavon Sanders Latimer, a.k.a. Jamhal Talib Abdullah Bey, 29, of Providence, R.I.;
  2. Robert Rodriguez, 21, of the Bronx, New York;
  3. Wilfredo Hernandez, a.k.a. WILL MUSA, 23, of the Bronx, New York;
  4. Alban El Curraugh, 27, of the Bronx, New York;
  5. Aaron Lamont Johnson, a.k.a. Tarrif Sharif Bey, 29, of Detroit, Mich.;
  6. Quinn Cumberlander, 40, of Pawtucket, R.I.;
  7. Lamar Dow, 34, of the Bronx, New York;
  8. Conrad Pierre, 29, of Baldwin, New York;
  9. A male juvenile, age 17;
  10. John Doe #1, refusing to identify self;
  11. John Doe #2, refusing to identify self.

State police said all of the suspects are charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, use of body armor in commission of a crime, possession of a high-capacity magazine, improper storage of firearms in a vehicle and conspiracy to commit a crime. Hernandez, Johnson, Dow and the juvenile are also charged with furnishing a false name to police.

State police said additional charges are possible pending the ongoing investigation, which includes the search of the defendants’ vehicles.

The juvenile defendant will be released to the custody of his parents and the remaining adults will be each be held at the Billerica House of Correction on $100,000 cash bail. They will be arraigned next week in Malden District Court.


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