‘Sovereign citizen’ arrested on outstanding Nevada County warrants | TheUnion.com

‘Sovereign citizen’ arrested on outstanding Nevada County warrants

Bryon Arendell

A Nevada County man pulled over by Placer County deputies ended up in jail on two outstanding warrants, despite identifying himself as a “sovereign citizen,” authorities said.

Bryon Edward Arendell, 50, had failed to appear in Nevada County Superior Court in February on two felony cases and two warrants were issued with a total bond of $50,000, court records state.

Early Tuesday morning, a Placer County deputy conducted a traffic stop in north Auburn on Arendell’s vehicle, which had an expired registration, a release states.

The deputy approached the driver, who refused to give his name, claiming he didn’t need proper documentation. The driver identified himself as a “sovereign citizen,” someone who believes they are separate or “sovereign” from the United States, reports state.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization, “Sovereigns believe that they — not judges, juries, law enforcement or elected officials — get to decide which laws to obey and which to ignore, and they don’t think they should have to pay taxes.”

The deputy was eventually able to identify the man as Arendell and found he had two felony warrants out of Nevada County for being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a machine gun, the release states.

During a search of Arendell’s person, the deputy located three rounds of ammunition inside his pocket, the release states. He was arrested and charged with committing a felony while out on bail, being a felon in possession of ammunition and the Nevada County warrants. He was booked at the South Placer Jail and remained in custody Thursday on $130,000 bond, jail records state.


Arendell was taken into custody June 29, 2019, after he was found with a short-barreled shotgun and suspected drugs, authorities said.

Nevada County sheriff’s deputies had responded to a trespassing report in the 18000 block of Grizzly Hill Road, sheriff’s Lt. Sean Scales said at the time.

Deputies located Arendell and Samantha Carol Monterastelli, 25, of Nevada City, in a truck on private property. They spotted a short-barreled shotgun wedged between the driver’s seat and center console, along with a small amount of suspected methamphetamine, Scales said.

Arendell was charged in that case with being a felon in possession of a firearm and trespassing. He pleaded not guilty in that case.

He also pleaded not guilty to charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of a machine gun in connection with an Oct. 21 arrest. According to Nevada County sheriff’s spokesman Andrew Trygg, that arrest stemmed from a failure to appear in court for the earlier case. Along with a bail bonds agent, sheriff’s deputies had gone to arrest Arendell on the outstanding warrant. Arendell did make reference to his “sovereign citizenship” at the time of arrest.

Arendell failed to appear for a Feb. 20 felony conference on both matters and warrants were issued, court records state.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.

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