CRIME

Richard Schmidt Arsenal: US Attorney 'Can't Tell How' Suspected White Supremacist Got Weapons

09/03/2013 04:10 pm ET | Updated Sep 04, 2013
Department of Justice

A convicted felon pleaded guilty to violating federal firearms laws in July, after cops found him in possession of 18 guns and more than 40,000 rounds of ammunition. But officials are still baffled as to how Richard Schmidt was able to amass his so-called "arsenal."

"I can't tell you how he got all those guns and ammunition,'' U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "It's not that I won't tell you; it's that I can't. This is somebody who should never have had one gun, one bullet. But he had an entire arsenal.''

Under federal law, convicted felons cannot possess firearms. Schmidt spent 13 years in prison after being convicted of manslaughter in the shooting death of a 20-year-old man in 1989. His weapons cache was uncovered following an FBI raid on his Ohio sports memorabilia store in December 2012.

Agents raided the store because they were investigating Schmidt on charges of marketing counterfeit goods.

In addition to the counterfeits, authorities say they also found a"hit list" of Detroit-area Jewish and NAACP leaders, white supremacist memorabilia, and a registry of Jewish businesses among his possessions. Those items moved the FBI to issue an alert to Detroit civil rights leaders in February.

Schmidt's attorney described his client as a survivalist who "had no intent to cause anyone harm."

"His collection of firearms and ammunition was similar to his collection of other items. He believes that our society may collapse one day, and he had to be prepared for what would happen," federal public defender Edward Bryan told the Plain Dealer.

According to the New York Daily News, Schmidt's latest conviction could mean 10 more years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced in October.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Schmidt owned a sporting goods store. The store in fact sold sports memorabilia.

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