Suspect linked to Four Corners militia group
Copyright 1998 The Durango Herald. All rights reserved.

June 5, 1998

By Joshua Moore
Herald Staff Writer

Alan "Monte" Pilon, one of the men suspected of killing a Cortez police officer and wounding three other officers, is a member of a local militia group linked to an extreme right-wing religion, a militia expert said Thursday.

Pilon, 30, of Dove Creek, is a member of the Four Corners Patriots, according to Mark Potok, spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit organization that monitors hate groups.

The Four Corners Patriots is an underground militia linked to the Christian Identity religion, a faith Potok described as "viciously racist and anti-Semitic."

Potok, who has been tracking the Four Corners Patriots since 1995, said he estimated the group had approximately 25 members in the Four Corners area. He said Pilon was an active member of the group and had taken part in at least one militia exercise in the Durango area.

Potok wasn’t sure if Jason McVean and Robert Mason, the Durango 26-year-olds who are the other two suspects, were active members of the Four Corners Patriots, although he believed they were closely linked to the militia group.

"The pipe bombs, the anti-government literature, the assault weapons found around these suspects – it certainly fits," said Potok.

Members of the Christian Identity religion believe Eve had sex with both Adam and the serpent in the Garden of Eden, thus producing two separate seed lines, according to Potok. Members of this religion believe Abel is the son of Adam and Eve, but Potok said they also believe Cain is the son of the serpent and is the first Jew.

"They (believers in Christian Identity) see all of history as being a titanic struggle between whites and Jews," said Potok. "They believe Jews are literally satanic, and blacks aren’t even human."

Most of the terrorist acts in the United States during the last decade have been carried out by believers in Christian Identity, he said. Potok estimates there are 50,000 Christian Identity believers in the United States, including Eric Rudolph, the man suspected of blowing up an Alabama abortion clinic.

Jim Strode, commander of the New Mexico Militia, did not know any of the suspects, but said they all appeared to be excellent survivalists.

"They’re pros," Strode said. "They’ve probably been practicing battleism for many years."

Strode said he came to La Plata County a few years ago to attend a weekend militia exercise at a ranch south of Durango and had met seven or eight people from the Four Corners. He thought McVean looked slightly familiar, but he wasn’t sure he was at the exercise.

According to Potok, militias have gone more underground and have become more violent since the Oklahoma City bombing. The Four Corners Patriots is one of the most extreme right-wing militias he has seen, Potok said.

"What we’re seeing in general is that the (terrorist) movement is a lot leaner, but a lot meaner," Potok said.

The level of terrorism in the U.S. during the last three years has been the highest in several decades, according to Potok, but most of the plots were stopped by authorities before they were carried out.

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