Police Raid House Of Israel

It's a controversial group known for its religious, anti-government stance.  Now their so-called ring leader is behind bars.

Thursday morning, the Jacksonville Police Department raided the House of Israel, whose headquarters are an old dentist's office on South Main Street. That dentist is now behind bars for practicing without a license.

Searching an old trailer parked behind the building, police are looking for drugs.  In front, a shattered glass door tells the full story.

"All of a sudden you just saw them take a barding ram and just break the glass because they were trying to get in and nobody would answer them," said Belinda Simms.

She works across the street from the House of Israel.

"it's kind of scary," she said.

She saw the entire raid go down.

"Both were in handcuffs for awhile and the lady went back in, but they did take the gentleman [Robert Fox] this time," Belinda said.

Fox was found, along with a woman, hiding inside the building.

"He did his usual thing with his paperwork and his writs of Habeas Corpus, you know, the usual thing. We sent him on up to the jail. I just basically explained to him that he might not believe in us, but he'd believe in the jail," said Jacksonville Police Chief Reece Daniel.

Police said he is the group's supposed ring leader.  Said to to be a spinoff of the Republic of Texas, the House of Israel doesn't believe in U.S. laws.

"Only it's cloaked in religion because they believe that gives them added protection from the law," Daniel said.

But Daniel said Fox isn't above the law and will remain in the Cherokee County jail on four drug-related charges, stemming from a previous raid.

"During that search, we found a little over 10,000 pills that are classified in the health and safety code as dangerous drugs so we seized those and that's why we're back here today," Daniel said.

Two men have also been arrested in connection with hiding out at the House of Israel. David Baugh was wanted for a parole violation in Missouri and Stephen Jackson was wanted on a weapons charge by the ATF.

Tracy Watler, Reporting tracy@kltv.com