Ed Brown had warned that he wouldn't be taken into custody alive: "We either walk out of here free or we die." However, the Browns were peacefully turned over to the custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. (They were convicted on federal tax charges in January and were sentenced in April to five years and three months in prison.) "We had no indication that the Browns intended to voluntarily surrender, so we had to move forward with an operation that promised the safest possible outcome. That day was today," said Stephen Monier.
The legal community has praised the federal authorities' hands-off approach, but Plainfield's 2,400 residents were not as content. Some town officials asked Monier to restrict the flow of militiamen and other anti-government groups to the Browns' home. In September, four men were arrested and accused of helping obstruct justice in the Browns' case. (Charges ranged from accessory after the fact to possession of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.) The arrests apparently reduced the number of visitors to the Brown household.
Officials had cut power and telephone service on the couple's residence after they were convicted of scheming to avoid federal income taxes by hiding $1.9 million of income between 1996 and 2003.
"I think it's great that it happened without incident," said David Grobe, a former patient of Elaine Brown, who used to run a dental practice.
Neighbor Robert Carpenter said he did not hear anything unusual. "In many ways this was like a stab in the heart," said Mike Chambers, of Republic Broadcasting Network, an Internet-based radio program based in Round Rock, Texas that has supported the Browns in the past. Another supporter David Ridley a web blogger from Manchester said Brown supporters should take part in "peaceable protests" at the U.S. District Court.
Legal Pub salutes the Federal Agencies on their peaceful handling of this crime. There is seldom a reason to have Ruby Ridge like show of force in white collar crimes.