What was supposed to be a bust for counterfeit sports jerseys turned out to be so much more, after federal agents raided the home and business of Richard Schmidt. The Ohio resident, who is an ex-con, was discovered to have the kind of firearm stash that your favorite rapper only raps about, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
But what began with investigators chasing box loads of counterfeit jerseys and baseball caps ended in one of the most perplexing seizures of weapons in Ohio: Authorities in December nabbed 18 guns that included assault rifles, more than 40,000 rounds of ammunition and body armor from Schmidt, a felon who killed a man and wounded two other people in 1989.
Investigators also found possible links to white supremacist groups. He had a VHS tape of a national meeting of the National Socialist Movement and stickers from the National Alliance, according to an inventory of seized items filed in U.S. District Court in Toledo. Agents also obtained notes with the names of Jewish and NAACP leaders in Detroit.
The names of the black leaders in Schmidt's notes were not released, but there is also evidence to suggest that Schmidt is a racist who would target Jews and members of ethnic groups. The man he was convicted of killing in 1989 was Hispanic.
Schmidt returned to Toledo in 2003 after getting out of prison. State incorporation records show he soon formed a nonprofit, the Vinland Preservation League, designed to push environmental and historical conservation and preservation.
The name of the nonprofit suggests more about Schmidt. In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, made note of a profile on yahoo.com involving a Rick Schmidt from Toledo, who went by vinlander101. Photos from the profile match Schmidt.
The law center lists the Vinlanders Social Club as a rogue group that "had a reputation for drinking, brawling and following a racist version of Odinism, a form of ancient paganism practiced by Vikings."
Read more at the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Jozen Cummings is the author and creator of the popular relationship blog Until I Get Married, which is currently in development for a television series with Warner Bros. He also hosts a weekly podcast with WNYC about Empire called Empire Afterparty, is a contributor at VerySmartBrothas.com and works at Twitter as an editorial curator. Follow him on Twitter.