A member of the Colorado Minuteman Project who is also an informant for the Federal Bureau of investigation linked Shawna Forde, Tuesday, to plans for a home invasion in Arivaca.
Ron Wedow, who used the code name Raven when undertaking Minuteman activities, testified that he is a self-employed contractor who became involved in border watch activities in the fall of 2005. “I went to Texas for a Minuteman operation,” he said. He talks about his involvement in this interview with Colorado Public Radio.
Wedow has a level of notoriety in Colorado for shooting and killing a dog that was attacking a fawn.
When asked to identify the defendant Wedow pointed to Forde sitting at the defense table. “ Her hair was blond and longer,” he said.
Wedow said they were on a border watch operation south of Three Points near Sasabe when he was about to begin a sweep through the desert on his ATV. “She came up to me and said ‘I’m going with you.’ I said ‘No you’re not,’” he recalled.
They had a follow up conversation where Forde apparently took a picture of Wedow, which did not please him. “I wanted the picture,” he testified. He said he never has gotten that picture from Forde.
Later, Wedow encountered Forde with a group of border crosser who she appeared to be trying to interview.
Fast forward to 2009. Wedow received a call from Forde in late April 2009. “She called and told me about a deal she had going involving machine guns, rocket-powered grenades, drugs and money,” he testified. “They were in a house in Arivaca.”
Wedow testified that Forde wanted to put together a team to take down this house. “She told me she had met a cartel guy at a bar,” he said. “She took a cigarette out of his mouth and stomped it on the floor. After that he was impressed with her.”
Wedow said Forde had reached an agreement with the cartel guy to tell her about illegals coming in if she would ignore his drug activities. This made Wedow suspicious. “I thought I was being set up,” he said. “The grenade thing was off the wall.”
Wedow testified that Forde was looking for a specialized team. “She wanted to know if I had a team that could go down there and take this house down,” he said. “The family was a front.”
He told her about a friend named Bob Copley with the code name, Anglo. “ I was going to put her in touch with him,” Wedow testified. “Bob worked with the FBI. I called him immediately.”
A meeting between Wedow, Copley and Forde was set for a truck stop in Aurora, Colo. Wedow didn’t want to attend due to family issues but he did. “I had better things to do,” he said.
At the Colorado meeting, there were two others who Wedow assumed were undercover federal agents, he identified as Bandana Dave and Cyo (no verification available regarding spelling of this name.)
At the meeting, Wedow said Forde talked about the potential money they might find at this home in Arivaca. “She talked about millions of dollars being kept there,” he testified. “She said that at any given time there were $2-3 million in the house. After the house was secured her team would take the drugs, money and guns and they would meet at a later time.”
When Wedow questioned Forde regarding his source of information Forde assured him her information was solid. “She told me she had it under surveillance,” he said. “She started talking about drugs money and home invasions. I let it roll from there.”
At the meeting, Forde drew a sketch of Arivaca with the location of the target house. That sketch was later transferred to the FBI office in Phoenix where it was destroyed without explanation. “The FBI destroyed evidence in a double homicide,” defense attorney Eric Larsen asked FBI Agent Chris Andersen. “Yes sir,” Andersen replied. “What else was destroyed,” Larsen asked. “Nothing to my knowledge,” Andersen replied.
After learning about the May 30, 2009, home invasion at the Flores home Wedow contacted the FBI to share his information. In response, the FBI asked him to call Forde on June 2 and June 9. Those recorded phone calls were played for the jury. Wedow asked Forde if she knew anything about the Flores home invasion. “I don’t know shit about that,” Forde said on the call. “If the cops want to talk to me they can call me.”
Wedow asked Forde if she still planned her operation they had discussed in Colorado. “ Our main guy is in jail,” Forde is heard saying. “We’ll have to bail him out.”
Forde told Wedow on the June 2 call that deputies had arrested “all of the locals and wanted to question everybody.” Wedow asked if he should come down. “Let the heat die down for a week,” Forde is heard telling Wedow.
Wedow asked Forde: “Do you need a place to cool off?”
Forde: “I might.”
Wedow: “I’m here for you.”
Forde is also heard telling Wedow that bandits had wounded a comrade during a recent operation in a wash off of SR 286. “I have a buddy who got two bullets in the leg,” she is heard saying.
Wedow asked Forde about her status. “I don’t trust anybody,” she is heard saying. “I’m the person that is willing to take it to the next level and that scares them.”
On the June 9 call, Wedow asked Forde if she had a new target. “We did a couple of operations without you,” she said. Forde is heard talking about a clandestine airstrip on a place called Montana Ranch.
Wedow offered to come to Tucson the next day. “That would be great,” Forde is heard saying. They talked bout finding a new base of operations in the Three Points area.
Forde then mentioned a potential business where they would rescue persons who had been kidnapped. You can’t say mercenary in the U.S. without getting arrested,” she is heard saying. “A lot of people underestimate me.”
And, Wedow said he and Forde talked about the purchase of a remote ranch to use for training in “Blackwater type of stuff.”
Wedow testified that the FBI did not pay him for his information on the case. But, Andersen admitted to Larsen that Wedow received $1,000 for “expenses” and that Copley received $1,300 for “expenses,” as well. “Somebody wrote them a check,” Andersen said. “These payments were classified as expenses.”
Finally, Andersen testified that Wedow had provided information to the FBI on unrelated matters. “He has given information to us periodically,” he testified.
During testimony Tuesday morning, a DNA analyst for Sorenson Forensics in Salt Lake City, told the jury that many of the key items taken into evidence in the case were linked to either co-defendant Jason Bush or co-defendant Albert Gaxiola. A silver ring found in the burnt orange Honda Element driven by Forde when she was arrested showed a partial DNA profile that matched certain areas of the profile his lab had for Forde.
©David S. Ricker, all rights reserved