Missouri men arrested on federal firearms charges for allegedly traveling to Kenosha to ‘pick people off’


Image from Michael Karmo’s Facebook profile courtesy of the US Attorney of the Eastern District of Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Federal prosecutors in Wisconsin charged two men from rural Missouri for allegedly traveling to Kenosha earlier this week with multiple guns to loot and possibly “pick people off” amid protests.

According to the criminal complaint filed by the US Attorney of the Eastern District of Wisconsin, 40-year-old Michael M. Karmo and 33-year-old Cody E. Smith were arrested September 1 at a hotel in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.

Earlier that day, the Kenosha Police Department contacted the FBI that Iowa law enforcement had received a tip about two armed men traveling from Missouri to Kenosha.

FBI agents located and detained Karmo and Smith at the hotel in Pleasant Prairie, which is located just south of Kenosha.

Prosecutors said the two men consented to a search of their vehicle and hotel room. Federal agents discovered a litany of firearms and ammunition, including an Armory AR-15 rifle, a Mossberg 12-Gauge shotgun, a homemade silencer, two handguns, a silencer, ammunition, body armor, a dagger, a folding knife, a drone, and other materials.

Karmo said he and Smith lived together in Hartville, Missouri, located in Wright County and were members of the 417 Second Amendment Militia.

Karmo allegedly told federal investigators they traveled to Kenosha to “see for themselves” what was going on with the riots and protests in the area. The two admitted to attending a rally for the president at a local high school.

Karmo said the two planned to travel to Portland, Oregon, and that he would “take action” if police in that city were defunded.

Federal authorities learned Karmo had priory felony convictions and that Smith had a prior misdemeanor domestic battery conviction.  

As a result, Karmo was charged with being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. Smith was charged with one count of aiding and abetting a felon in possession of firearms, and two counts of possession of firearms and ammunition by a prohibited person.

Each charge carries a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and 3 years of probation.

Federal prosecutors included several Facebook posts from Karmo showing him in possession of multiple firearms.

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