Alice tax protester faces four felony charges

Christopher Maher, Alice Echo-News Journal

CORPUS CHRISTI - A federal judge denied bond Monday in the case of Cirino "Reno" Gonzalez, an Alice tax protester who has been charged with aiding two fugitives in a standoff with federal agents in New Hampshire.

Judge Janice Ellington addressed a shackled Gonzalez Monday morning in the United States Courthouse in Corpus Christi, and said she was denying bond because he had shown by his actions that he is a danger to the community.

Ellington reached her decision after hearing testimony from U.S. Marshal Eugene Robinson, an investigator assigned to the New Hampshire district who aided in Gonzalez's arrest in Alice last week.

Robinson testified that as he and other federal agents attempted to arrest Gonzalez, he barricaded himself in a room and then appeared to dive toward one of several guns that were in the room as agents made entry.

Robinson testified Gonzalez also struggled with the arresting officers for several minutes before he could be subdued.

Prosecutor Lance Duke played several videos which supporters of Gonzalez and the two fugitives he allegedly assisted, Ed and Elaine Brown, had posted on the Internet.

Those videos depicted Gonzalez at the New Hampshire home of the Browns, carrying an assault rifle and speaking against the federal government.

In his argument before the court, Gonzalez's attorney, Jason Libby, said bond should be set at a "reasonable amount," because of Gonzalez's past military service and because he does not have a criminal record.

Before issuing her ruling, Judge Ellington said she considered those factors, but denied bond because Gonzalez had resisted arrest.

Ellington was expected to issue an order later this week allowing the U.S. Marshals service to transport Gonzalez to New Hampshire for prosecution.

Jose Gonzalez, Reno Gonzalez's father, was forcibly removed from the gallery in the courtroom Monday after he began shouting at Judge Ellington while she was issuing her ruling denying bond. No charges were filed against Jose Gonzalez as a result of the incident.

Ellington ordered that Cirino Gonzalez be held in arm and leg shackles throughout the hearing, after officers with the U.S. Marshals service informed her they had received information about a potential plot to free him.

On Sept. 13, the day Gonzalez was arrested in Alice, a federal grand jury returned an indictment outlining four charges against Gonzalez in connection with his decision to join the Browns earlier this year in their home.

Gonzalez was indicted on charges of conspiracy to prevent officers of the United States from discharging their duties, conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States, accessory after the fact, and carrying and possessing a firearm in connection with a crime of violence.

The Browns were convicted of conspiracy and several tax-related offenses in January.

They currently live in their home on a 100-acre estate in New Hampshire, and have repeatedly threatened to kill any law enforcement personnel who attempt to arrest them.