Federal prosecutors want an Ohio man with white supremacist ties to spend a long time behind bars after he amassed a “staggering” stockpile of weapons and allegedly plotted to assassinate the leaders of various religious and cultural groups.
Richard Schmidt, 47, pleaded guilty in July in federal court in Toledo, Ohio to trafficking in counterfeit sports merchandise from a shop he ran in a local mall. He also pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and body armor.
In a twist after his arrest in December, federal authorities revealed Schmidt had been stockpiling guns and ammo in a secret room in the mall where his shop was located in preparation for what he believed was a coming race war.
Last week in federal court, prosecutors filed sentencing documents detailing Schmidt’s ties to the white supremacist movement and explaining what they believed he was planning to do with the weapons. They asked the judge to give Schmidt a harsh sentence. He could get as many as 30 years in prison.
“This defendant, quite simply, was a well-funded, well-armed, and focused one-man army of racial and religious hate,” prosecutors wrote.
Schmidt was arrested on Dec. 21, 2012 after FBI agents executed search warrants on suspicion he was selling counterfeit merchandise at Spindletop Sports Zone, a store he operated at a shopping center in Bowling Green, Ohio.
After searching the store and Schmidt’s home, agents found bootleg NFL, Nike, Reebok, and Louis Vuitton clothing, 18 firearms, and over 40,000 rounds of ammunition, according to his indictment filed in January. Prosecutors also said agents found materials linking Schmidt to white supremacist groups and writings outlining his plans to assassinate minorities, including the leaders of African-American and Jewish groups in Detroit.
This arrest wasn’t Schmidt’s first brush with the law. In 1990, he was convicted of manslaughter for shooting two men and killing another in a 1989 traffic dispute. Schmidt was 24 at the time of the shooting.
Prosecutors said last week that Schmidt’s arsenal from the latest arrest consisted of body armor, ammunition and 18 firearms including handguns, assault rifles, shotguns, and a sniper rifle. Apart from a few pistols in his home and another in his jacket, authorities said the majority of Schmidt’s arms cache was held in a private room he built inside the mall.
“This room contained nothing but his rifles, ammunition, body armor, his writings, and a cot. The room was not open to the public and only he had access to it,” prosecutors wrote. “It was, for want of a better term, his lair.”
Along with these weapons and writings, prosecutors said Schmidt was found in possession of a membership card from the National Alliance, a once-powerful white supremacist group that is now believed to be largely defunct. “His writings made clear that he shared the views of this group in no uncertain terms,” prosecutors wrote.
In addition to the secret room and his store, Schmidt kept trailers outside the mall, including one prosecutors said was registered to “the Vinlander Social Club, a white power club.”
Prosecutors asked the court to impose an especially tough sentence and to have Schmidt’s sentences for the firearms charges and the counterfeiting charge run consecutively in light of “the seriousness of the offense.” Prosecutors also rejected Schmidt’s attorney’s claim that he was merely a gun collector.
“None of the firearms he possessed were for hunting or purely recreational purposes, whether they were too tactical or high capacity for hunting purposes like the shotguns, or too powerful a round for hunting,” said the prosecutors. “The defendant cannot claim a legitimate recreational purpose for owning these firearms. Likewise, the collection does not have a unique historical or collectible value.”
Schmidt was scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday. However, last Wednesday, his attorney, Edward Bryan, filed a motion asking the judge to delay the sentencing to allow more time to respond to the prosecution. Bryan did not respond to a request for comment from TPM, but in that motion, he indicated Schmidt denies many of the allegations against him.
“In support of its goal of exacting the highest possible sentence against Mr. Schmidt, the government raises several novel legal arguments and makes over-the-top factual assertions that Mr. Schmidt strongly denies,” Bryan said.
The motion was granted and Schmidt’s sentencing is now scheduled for Dec. 19.
Mike Tobin, a spokesman for the United States Attorney’s Office in Toledo, told TPM Schmidt faces a maximum sentence of 10 years on the possession charges and a maximum of 20 years on the counterfeiting charge.
Read the full sentencing memorandum from the federal prosecutors below.