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Saturday, August 30, 1997

Two Republic of Texas members arrested on trespassing charges

FORT DAVIS, Texas (AP) -- Two Republic of Texas members were arrested Thursday on misdemeanor trespassing charges as they attempted to serve what the organization described as civil federal summonses.

Theresa Holt, 49, and Susan Blackmon, 26, were held late Thursday in the Presidio County Jail at Marfa on $10,000 bond each, said jailer Lee Roy Campos.

A fax from the Republic of Texas stated that the women were serving summonses in a suit filed Aug. 25 by Richard McLaren on behalf of the separatist organization.

"Many officials in Jeff Davis County and Presidio County are also named as Respondents in the suit and summonses," the fax stated.

Members of the group contend Texas remains an independent republic and say they do not recognize Texas state agencies, including district courts.

Ms. Holt and Ms. Blackmon each face two misdemeanor counts of trespassing. Ms. Holt also was found to have outstanding traffic warrants from East Texas, Sheriff Steve Bailey of Jeff Davis County said.

The women will appear before state District Judge Kenneth DeHart probably on Friday, the jailer said.

DeHart is the same judge who last week set Oct. 27 as the trial date for Republic founder McLaren and three followers on charges stemming from a weeklong standoff with state authorities.

Bailey said Thursday that sheriff's officers arrested the women after receiving complaints from two residents of the Davis Mountains Resort, the same rural subdivision where the Republic members had set up an "embassy" in a trailer and wood cabin.

On April 27, McLaren and the three followers participated in a scheme to kidnap two neighbors in the resort in retaliation for the arrest that day of a group member on weapons charges, the indictment charges.

That led to the standoff between the armed separatists and 300 Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and Texas Rangers. The siege ended May 3 after McLaren and the others agreed to lay down their weapons.

Bailey said Thursday that the women's arrest shows law enforcement officers' determination to head off any renewed momentum by the Republic.

"We're not going to let it build to what it was," he said. "We're going to confront any militia problems promptly and very aggressively to try not to let it build to a crisis."

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