MISSOULA (AP) — A group of white supremacists planning to meet in the St. Regis area this weekend have lost their gathering site, after the private landowner found out the Church of True Israel wasn’t a church group.
“The landowner pretty obviously wasn’t aware of what was really going on,” said Sanders County Undersheriff Rube Wrightsman. “It seems he thought they were some type of church group.”
The Church of True Israel, Wrightsman said, is a relatively new group that appears to have splintered off from Richard Butler’s Aryan Nation organization in Idaho. They planned their first large gathering for Friday through Sunday about nine miles outside St. Regis.
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Community members have expressed concerns, saying their town is not and should not be identified with white supremacist ideals.
Wrightsman said law enforcement officers also are concerned, and now their job is made more difficult, because they don’t know where, or if, the group will be meeting.
“We just really do not know at this point,” Wrightsman said. “We don’t know what’s happening with them, or where they might relocate to. We may not know where it’s at until they pull in.”
Wrightsman said he had not been able to confirm rumors that the event had been canceled. On Thursday evening, the group’s Web site did not indicate any change of plan.