The Republic of Texas held one of its regularly scheduled congressional meetings on Feb. 14 at a rented Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Bryan, Texas.
Twenty minutes later, a menagerie of law enforcement agents, including the FBI, raided the building.
“We had no idea what was going on,” Republic of Texas president John Jarnecke told the Houston Chronicle. “We knew of nothing that would warrant such an action.”
As head of the group, Jarnecke leads what he and others consider a sovereign entity. The “Texians” mint their own coins, carry identification cards to prove their standing as representatives of a foreign nation, and send out letters attempting to convince others of their legitimacy, according to The New York Times.
The way they read history, Texas never officially joined the US.
The Republic of Texas caught the law’s attention after sending letters to a judge and a lawyer in Kerrville, Texas, which demanded the two appear in the group’s court the same day as the raid. There, the judge would have to present “proof of his authority” in the pending foreclosure of one of the members’ homes, the Times reported.
“You can’t just let people go around filing false documents to judges trying to make them appear in front of courts that aren’t even real courts,” Kerr County sheriff Rusty Hierholzer, who led the raid, told the Chronicle.
Although no one was arrested in the raid, authorities detained dozens of the group’s members and supporters. Some were finger-printed, while cellphones and briefcases were confiscated from others, the Times reported. Fearing extremists in the group could turn violent again, Hierholzer involved other agencies, including the FBI.
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