American Front suspect: Group is a 'social club'

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OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. —

A woman who is part of an Osceola County group authorities say was planning a race war told WFTV on Friday that such a claim is “crazy.’’

Diane Stevens, who faces hate crime charges along with more than a dozen members of the American Front, talked with WFTV reporter Jeff Deal.

Authorities raided the group’s compound in May and seized more than 25 guns, ranging from sniper rifles to AK-47s. Agents said the group was using the compound to train for a race war against Jews and blacks and called the American Front a white supremacist, terrorist organization.

Stevens said she knows nothing about a race war.

“No. No. That’s crazy,’’ Stevens said.

As for her swastika tattoos, which can be seen in her mug shot, Stevens said she got them when she was young and wanting attention. She said she usually covers them up.

She said the American Front is not a hate group.

"It's a social club,’’ she said. “We would hang out with like-minded people."

Stevens does harbor views about race that some would consider controversial.

"We believe in marriage within our own race, just like the Muslims and Catholics," she said.

Stevens said her views are not illegal and added that she does not believe that whites are superior to others.

"I'm not this big evil racist person," Stevens said.

She admitted buying an AK-47 for her boyfriend, but said the gun was just for target practice.

Stevens hopes to get the charges against her dropped but is prepared to go to trial if necessary.

Two other alleged members of the American Front will fight the charges later this month.

The lawyer for Jennifer and Mark McGowan said his clients spent time at the group’s Osceola County compound but were only there for barbecues and target practice.

Attorney Sam Edwards said he will ask a judge to drop the charges against the McGowans at a hearing scheduled later this month.