FULL DETAILS: What led to two men from Hartville being charged in Kenosha for illegally owning guns

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- Two men from Hartville, Missouri, have been arrested and charged for illegally owning guns in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Michael Karmo, 40-years-old, and Cody Smith, 33-years-old, were arrested just outside of Kenosha at a La Quinta Hotel & Inn in Pleasant Prairie.

The following information is according to a criminal complaint from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

Monday, August 31, 2020

According to court records, Karmo and Smith decided to drive to Kenosha to “see for themselves” what was going on regarding the riots.

The two met with another person who said they would go on that trip; court records identify him as CW. CW saw Karmo and Smith that day, but CW did not know Smith.

Karmo told CW he had two firearms in the car, but the person did not see them that evening. CW told investigators that he feared because of Karmo’s increase in conspiracy theory talks and “crazy” political talk, he was not in the right mind to have a firearm.

CW was planning to go on the trip but decided not to go. Smith and Karmo left Hartville around 4 p.m.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Smith told investigators he and Karmo stopped in Iowa around 2 a.m. to visit a friend. From there, two arrived at Kenosha four hours later and stopped at the hotel they were planning on staying.

Both Smith and Karmo say they attended a Donald Trump rally at Kenosha’s high school later that morning.

After the rally, the two went back to the hotel and had plans to see what Kenosha was like at night. Around 3 a.m. and 4 p.m., the FBI was notified by the Kenosha Police Department and law enforcement in Iowa that Karmo and Smith were on the way to Kenosha, documents say. CW provided the information to law enforcement and shared pictures Karmo had sent to CW to authorities.

The criminal complaint says law enforcement then obtained location data from AT&T and found that a phone number giving to authorities matched that of one of the men and showed their journey from Missouri to Wisconsin and showed which hotel the men were staying.

Around 7:40 p.m. Tuesday, the FBI found Karmo and Smith outside the hotel near a Toyota Highlander. Karmo and Smith gave consent for FBI officials to search the vehicle.

Here is what authorities found:

  • A black EP Armory AR-15 with muzzle device and optic, in gun case, bearing no serial number
  • A Mossberg 500 AB 12-Gauge shotgun
  • A Taurus PT92AF 9mm handgun
  • A homemade silencer device
  • Four 30-round 5.56×45 caliber rifle magazines, one empty, one had two rounds, two were partially loaded
  • Two 15-round 9mm, handgun magazines, unloaded
  • A black Ruger case containing two 17-round 9mm pistol magazines, fully loaded, and three 9mm rounds
  • Five 12 gauge shotgun shells
  • A black, 9mm magazine, partially loaded
  • A black, firearm muzzle attachment
  • A black Typhoon Drone with components in case
  • Army ACU pattern body armor
  • Black Molle tactical gear
  • A cellphone
  • A small bag of marijuana
  • A pipe used for marijuana
  • A Safariland right leg holster
  • A folding knife with a serrated blade

Karmo and Smith also told authorities they could search their hotel room. There, investigators found:

  • A Ruger 9mm handgun, with one 9mm round in the chamber and one magazine with nine 9mm rounds
  • A dagger
  • A twisted cable survival saw
  • A Remington 9mm Luger FMJ, 115 grain 100 round box with 67 rounds
  • 131 12 gauge shotgun shells
  • A cellphone
  • A laptop

All found Tuesday evening.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Court records say law enforcement spoke with CW again, and CW told them that Karmo would walk around with a firearm in his waistband and played “Rambo” in the backyard with various guns.

CW told authorities Karmo bought firearm parts online and manually put them together, and he shaved down the firing pin to make these weapons untraceable.

Karmo is charged with felon in possession of a firearm. Smith is charged with aiding and abetting a felon’s possession of firearms, possession of firearms, ammunition by a prohibited person – misdemeanor domestic violence, and possession of firearms and ammunition by a prohibited person.

Police say each charge has a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and up to three years of supervision after prison release.

Ozarks First spoke with Wright County Sheriff Glenn Adler Friday afternoon about this incident. He says the FBI issued a search warrant to search a home, Karmo and Smith were staying at in Hartville, Thursday morning.

“Nobody was at the house, but they recovered some guns and some ammunition. We were there just to provide some uniformed officers. I think we had three deputies there. We were unaware of these people. My understanding is they’ve only been here for about a month. So we don’t even know them,” says Sheriff Adler.

Smith is being held at the Milwaukee County Jail, and Karmo is at the Dodge County Jail. Both have hearings set for next Tuesday morning before a judge.

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