‘Rise of the Moors' Suspects Arrested in Armed Highway Standoff Due in Court Tuesday

The 11 suspects -- who all claimed to be part of a group called the Rise of the Moors -- are due in Malden District Court on Tuesday.

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The 11 males who were arrested Saturday following an hourslong armed standoff that partially shut down Interstate 95 in Wakefield, Massachusetts, will make their first court appearances on Tuesday.

Police said the suspects arrested Saturday -- who all claimed to be part of a group called the Rise of the Moors -- are from Rhode Island, New York and Michigan.

The Massachusetts State Police have identified eight of the 11 males. Two of the men refused to identify themselves. One of the suspects is 17 years old. His identity was not publicly released.

  • Jamhal Tavon Sanders Latimer, 29, of Providence, Rhode Island, also known as Jamhal Talib Abdullah Bey
  • Robert Rodriguez, 21, of the Bronx, New York
  • Wilfredo Hernandez, 23, of the Bronx, New York, also known as Will Musa
  • Alban El Curraugh, 27, of the Bronx, New York
  • Aaron Lamont Johnson, 29, of Detroit, Michigan, also known as Tarrif Sharif Bey
  • Quinn Cumberlander, 40, of Pawtucket, Rhode Island
  • Lamar Dow, 34, of the Bronx, New York
  • Conrad Pierre, 29, of Baldwin, New York

The 17-year-old was released to parental custody, with the adults all being held on $100,000 bail at the Billerica House of Correction. Three of the people taken into custody were brought to hospitals to be evaluated, state police said. Two of them have since been released.

All of the suspects are charged with conspiracy to commit a crime, unlawful possession of guns and ammunition, possession of a high-capacity magazine, use of body armor in a crime and improper storage of firearms in a vehicle. Hernandez, Johnson, Dow and the unnamed teen are also charged with giving a false name to police. They are due in Malden District Court on Tuesday. It could not immediately be determined if they have lawyers.

Police have identified eight of the 11 suspects who were arrested after an hours long armed standoff with police off Interstate 95 in Wakefield, Massachusetts, Saturday. All of them claimed to be part of a group called the Rise of the Moors.

Troopers recovered three AR-15 rifles, two pistols, a bolt-action rifle, a shotgun and a short-barrel rifle. The group refers to itself as a militia and said they adhere to "Moorish Sovereign Ideology,'' police said. One of the people arrested was a male juvenile and two others refused to give their names.

The standoff began early Saturday when a Massachusetts State Police trooper stopped to offer assistance to the vehicles he found on the side of the highway in the town of Wakefield. Police later said they were refueling. The trooper called for backup and most of the group went into the nearby woods until they surrendered to a police tactical team just after 10 a.m.

The standoff closed Interstate 95 in the area during the busy holiday weekend and some area residents were told to shelter in place. The group told police they traveling from Rhode Island to Maine to conduct "training.''

None of the men, who were dressed in military fatigues and body armor and were armed with long guns and pistols, had a license to carry firearms in Massachusetts.

Armed members of the Rise of the Moors were arrested after a standoff that closed I-95 and prompted a shelter-in-place.

During the standoff one member of the group broadcast on a social media account of the group "Rise of the Moors" that they were not antigovernment or anti-police. The website for the group says they are "Moorish Americans dedicated to educating new Moors and influencing our Elders.''

The Southern Poverty Law Center's website says the Moorish sovereign citizen movement is a collection of independent organizations and individuals that emerged in the 1990s as an offshoot of the antigovernment sovereign citizens' movement. People in the movement believe individual citizens hold sovereignty over, and are independent of, the authority of federal and state governments.

It is not clear if Rise of the Moors is specifically affiliated with that movement.

“Their self-professed leader wanted very much known their ideology is not anti-government,” Massachusetts State Police Col. Christopher Mason said. “Our investigation will provide us more insight into what their motivation, what their ideology is.”

Mason said he can't confirm that they are "validated members" of the group. "They identify as they identify."

He said police are also aware of what the group promoting on social media sites, but didn't elaborate on what that was.

Experts say the group involved in Saturday's standoff on I-95 in Massachusetts is based in Rhode Island and has unique ideas about the law.

Mark Pitcavage, a senior research fellow for the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism, said the sovereign citizen movement is rarely involved in paramilitary activity.

"This particular group, Rise of the Moors, is actually interested in that so that makes them unusual for groups within this movement,'' Pitcavage said.

A number of the pioneers of the sovereign citizen movement in the 1970s were white supremacists. The vast majority of Moorish sovereign citizens are African American, Pitcavage said.

"I find it very ironic... that the Moorish sovereign citizen movement is so large and active, they actually repeat many theories that were actually cooked up, again many years ago, by white supremacists,'' he said.

The group has not returned requests for comment.

People in Wakefield and Reading had to shelter in place for hours Saturday morning as police searched for armed men.
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