Firearms and an assortment of radio broadcast equipment were among the items reportedly confiscated by federal agents in two separate searches of the home of imprisoned militia activist Mark Koernke Wednesday in Webster Township, south of Pinckney just across the county line.
The short-wave radio station and Web site "Patriot Broadcasting Network," operated by Koernke prior to his imprisonment and later by his family, were shut down during the initial seizure by the U.S. Marshal's office.
Agents acted in conjunction with the Federal Communications Commission to execute an order of seizure for radio equipment allegedly used for "illegal broadcasting activities," according to Chief Deputy U.S. Marshall Darrell Williams in the Detroit office.
Firearms were seized in a subsequent raid on the house, located on Dexter-Pinckney Road, that was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Spokesperson Vera Fedorak said she could not provide further details on the raid because the affidavit for the search warrant had been sealed by the courts.
Neither Williams nor Fedorak would disclose the specific details leading up to the raid; however, Fedorak said agents from the U.S. Marshal's office were first to discover the firearms in their search for the radio equipment.
"When they got to the premises, there were guns there," she said. "Mark Koernke is a convicted felon, so he cannot (possess) firearms." Fedorak said charges against Koernke or others could result from the raid once the weapons are examined, but it's too early in the investigation to say for certain. She said family members were present at the time of the seizure, but she would not provide specific identities.
Koernke, 45, was convicted in 2001 of fleeing and eluding police and resisting arrest. He currently is serving three to seven years at the Chippewa Correctional Facility in Kincheloe. He is also serving time for assault with a dangerous weapon.
The conviction came following an hour-long police chase through Livingston and Washtenaw counties the year before.