Court records: Smoke bomb, metal poles and detailed plans found during Patriot Front arrests

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho – Court documents obtained by 4 News Now detail what police confiscated when they arrested 31 members of the white nationalist group Patriot Front in Coeur d’Alene.

Thirty-one men from all across the country were arrested in the back of U-Haul van near Coeur d’Alene’s Pride event. Officers found various types of riot gear and found probable cause to charge them with conspiracy to riot. 

Court records show they found metal shields, flags on abnormally large metal poles and voice amplification-type devices in the U-Haul. Members of Patriot Front were wearing primarily blue shirts, tan pants, patches on their arms, hats, face masks and sunglasses. According to court documents, some of the hats had a hard plastic-type insert inside, similar to a hard hat worn by construction workers. Some members wore plastic shin guards, others had other protective gear and many had digital recording devices. 

A further search led officers to find a single smoke bomb/grenade and documents outlining the group’s plan on Patriot Front founder and leader Thomas Rousseau’s person. 

Court records show the document was typed and discussed the group being there to “raise a voice against the moral depravity which permits events such as [Pride] to take place.” 

The document reportedly outlined all locations, primary checkpoints, drill times, prep times and observation windows, as well as GPS coordinates for a drop point with two backup plans. Court records show the plan noted using “smoke” at the discretion of the “column coordinator” and included an exit strategy “once an appropriate amount of time and confrontational dynamic has been established.” 

“I think some of us were a bit surprised by not only the level of preparation that we saw but the equipment that was carried and worn by those individuals as well as the large amount of equipment that was left in the van when the stop happened. That level of preparation is not something you see every day,” said Lee White, the police chief of the Coeur d’Alene Police Department.

Police noted in their report that this further indicated the group’s confrontational intentions to antagonize and cause disorder. When asked why they traveled so far, one member of Patriot Front, Wesley Van Horn of Alabama, told officers “We go where we are needed.” 

Officers were alerted to the group when an alert citizen saw them gathering near the U-Haul in the Spring Hill Suites’ parking lot. An employee at the hotel told officers no one involved in the suspect vehicles were guests at the hotel. 

All 31 men arrested have since posted bail. They have not yet appeared in court as a result, which is common for misdemeanor crimes. 

The court is determining a date for their first hearings. So far, six men are scheduled for their in-person arraignments on July 18. 

READ: ‘It feels frightening’: Coeur d’Alene community ‘on edge’ following arrests of Patriot Front members

RELATED: WATCH: Coeur d’Alene Mayor, Police Chief address Patriot Front arrests