Outspoken government critic held on firearms charges
Outspoken government critic held on firearms charges
Fri Mar 26 12:32:44 2004

Outspoken government critic held on firearms charges

By Keith Gushard

WEST MEAD TOWNSHIP - Darrell Sivik Sr., an outspoken critic of the federal government who once claimed allegiance to the militia movement, faces up to 25 years in jail for alleged violating federal firearms laws.
About 25 heavily armed federal agents spent about six hours Thursday at Sivik's gu shop and home, doing their work within sight of a sign on the property showing the muzzle of a handgun and the words "If you are found here tonight, you will be found here tomorrow."
With some carrying machine guns and wearing camouflage uniforms, agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the FBI carried out the search starting at about 9 a.m. while Pennsylvania State Police blocked access to the Sivik property along Williamson Road. Agents were seen carting off some boxes, but it wasn't clear what they took when they left the property around 2:30 p.m.
Federal authorities have refused to reveal where the gun dealer was being held, but Mary Beth Buchanan, the U.S. Attorney for western Pennsylva-nia, said Sivik was in the custody of the U.S. Marshal Service.
Buchanan said Sivik faces three federal firearms charges: unlawful possession and transfer of an unregistered firearm; conspiracy to unlawfully possess and transfer an unregistered firearm; and unlawfully manufacturing a firearm.
Buchanan refused to offer details, saying the warrant for Sivik's arrest was sealed by federal court.
She said the warrant could be unsealed by the court during Sivik's federal detention hearing scheduled for Monday in Erie. That hearing will determine if Sivik could be released on bond.
"The ATF served a search warrant," said Darrell Sivik Jr. outside the family home Thursday afternoon. "My father was taken into custody."
The younger Sivik said he was out of town when his father was arrested and supposedly was transported to Erie.
The elder Sivik is well-known in the area for his political activism and stunt-studded public protests.
He operates Braveheart Radio at 88.3 FM, a low-powered relay station broadcasting syndicated anti-government, new world order, militia and worldwide doom programming.
The relay station, located behind Sivik's home, continued broadcasting Thursday even as the federal raid unfolded.
Sivik's also known locally as a leader of annual anti-U.N. protests that typically involve burning or shooting a U.N. flag. U.N. troops' helmets featuring bulletholes were displayed at one recent protest.
Sivik claims the United Nations is out to strip the United States of its sovereignty and create one world government that will trample individual freedoms.
But not all of Sivik's activism has revolved around issues distant from the mainstream.
Mostly recently, he led an effort in West Mead Township to declare the USA Patriot Act unconstitutional and void in the township.
The act, which was passed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, gives law enforcement personnel sweeping powers of surveillance and broad access to personal information.
Sivik's also been in the vanguard of several local tax protests, and he unsuccessfully ran for a Republican nomination for West Mead Township supervisor in 2003.
He's also served as a Scoutmaster.

Tribune reporters Gary Johnson and Jane Smith contributed to this story. Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com 

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