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Nine people in a “heavily armed” group which “does not recognize our laws” were arrested early Saturday after a standoff with state police in Massachusetts which shut down I-95, according to reports.
“We have several armed persons accounted for at this scene on Rt 95. They are refusing to comply with orders to provide their information and put down their weapons,” the Massachusetts State Police said on Twitter.
Shelter-in-place orders were issued in the communities of Wakefield and Reading, just north of Boston, during the ordeal, NBC 10 reported.
A state trooper found the men in a breakdown lane on the side of the interstate refueling their vehicles around 1:30 a.m. Massachusetts State Police Colonel Christopher Mason told reporters. The occupants of the vehicle were dressed in military-style tactical gear. Some had long rifles, some side pistols, he said, according to reports.
“We were afraid so we got out with our arms,” one man allegedly from the group, called Rise of the Moors, said in a YouTube video, while dressed in what appeared to be combat gear.
The nature of the group is unclear as police continue to investigate.
“We’re not anti-government, we’re not anti-police. We’re not sovereign citizens, we’re not black identity extremists,” the man in the video said. “We haven’t violated any laws.”
The men claim “to be from a group that does not recognize our laws,” the Wakefield Police Department said in a statement. “No threats were made, but these men should be considered armed and dangerous.”
The FBI Boston Division told reporters it is “fully engaged” with its state and local partners, but said it had no further comment on the situation given that it is still ongoing.
By 10:30 a.m., state police said it had arrested nine people and were conducting searches of their vehicles and the nearby woods.
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