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Marshals arrest N.H. couple, ending holdout by tax evaders

Convicted tax evaders Ed and Elaine Brown of Plainfield, N.H., stopped paying taxes in 1996. Convicted tax evaders Ed and Elaine Brown of Plainfield, N.H., stopped paying taxes in 1996. (FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

A tense five-month standoff ended peacefully last night when US marshals took custody of convicted tax evaders Ed and Elaine Brown at their Plainfield, N.H., home, authorities announced.

"We had no indication that the Browns intended to voluntary surrender," US Marshal Stephen Monier said in a statement, "so we had to move forward with an operation that promised the safest possible outcome. That day was today."

The arrests occurred without incident about 7:45 p.m., he said. "High-profile situations like this are always difficult, but they don't have to be tragic.

"I'm glad no one was injured, and that the community remained safe throughout the operation," Monier said.

The Browns were turned over to the US Bureau of Prisons last night and will begin serving their 63-month federal prison term, Monier said. In June, he said the Browns would eventually be charged with obstruction of justice for resisting arrest.

The Browns had stopped paying taxes in 1996, mostly on income generated by Elaine Brown's dental practice.

Ed Brown, 65, and Elaine Brown, 67, were convicted of federal tax charges on January 18th and sentenced, in absentia, during an April 24 court hearing.

Since about the time of their conviction, the Browns had been holed up on their property and had refused to surrender.

"I'm in my house," Ed Brown told the Associated Press by phone the day before his conviction. "I won't leave it."

During the stay at their home, the Browns kept weapons, got power from a wind turbine generator and solar panels, and communicated with the outside through satellite dishes.

Followers and friends who had heard about the case brought food, water, and supplies.

The Browns garnered much of their support via the internet.

Ed Brown kept a blog that at one point received a million hits in a month, and Brown supporters kept a MySpace page for the couple.

Randy Weaver, who infamously resisted arrest at Ruby Ridge in Idaho in 1992, joined Brown at his compound in June to offer his support.

However, visits to the Brown household declined after four men were arrested Sept. 12 for providing guns or other supplies to the couple.

That, along with other factors, were used in determining the time of the arrest, Monier said.

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