A Kings Mountain “medicine man” faces federal firearms and tax-evasion charges after an FBI raid on his home uncovered an underground bunker containing dozens of weapons, drugs, large supplies of food and water, suspected materials for an explosive device – and a still.
Six years ago, Reuben DeHaan filed papers in Cleveland County renouncing his U.S. citizenship and challenging government authority, even as he built a murky business marketing “natural healing” services and remedies that earned gross receipts of more than $2.7 million during a recent six-year period.
Tuesday, the self-styled member of a Native American healers group was in federal court, jailed Thursday in Mecklenburg County after federal agents searched the premises at 103 Police Club Drive.
According to recently unsealed documents in a joint FBI/Internal Revenue Service investigation, by far the most interesting items were found underground – in a multiroom bunker beneath DeHaan’s front yard. There, agents said they discovered about 70 weapons, including high-powered rifles, silencers, scopes and ammunition. Ten more firearms were found in the house and in vehicles on the property.
A “significant amount” of food and beverages was stored in the rooms, ceilings and walls of the underground structure, and agents say they also came across a couple of 2,000-gallon water tanks, documents say.
There was also this: “various components that could be utilized to construct a destructive device” – including PVC piping, Tannerite, aluminum powder and 100 feet of fusing, documents say.
Kevin Tate, one of DeHaan’s court-appointed attorneys, declined to comment Monday.
According to public records, DeHaan appears to have settled in Cleveland County in 2004 after leaving the Detroit area. Federal officials say the 43-year-old claims he is a minister of the Native American Church of Nemenhah, which describes itself as an intertribal convocation of medicine men and women, formed in 2002.
Church leaders describe the group as a “healing-based religion.” Steven Moore, senior attorney for the Native American Rights Fund, once described them as “sham artists.”
Following in the footsteps of the Moorish Nation and other “indigenous” groups, Nemenhah members have challenged government rules and regulations.
FBI and IRS affidavits say that in March 2010, DeHaan filed a no-trespassing document with the Cleveland County Register of Deeds giving notice to local officials that unwanted visitors to his property could be hit with a fine of $1 million in silver coin.
Two months later, he filed another declaration renouncing his U.S. citizenship and any liability for the national debt. Several years later, he informed the city that he had deeded over his property to the Church of Nemenhah. In 2014, he reminded town officials that he was conducting religious services on the property and warned them to stay away.
The IRS says federal officials do not recognize Nemenhah as a tribe or a church and that the group has never applied for nonprofit status.
Federal tax officials also say DeHaan avoided paying taxes on millions of dollars of income by claiming that all his earnings had come from religious donations. He has not filed a voluntary federal tax return for himself or his company since 1997, according to the IRS affidavit.
DeHaan incorporated businesses in at least three other states and used some 10 Charlotte-area bank accounts to deposit and withdraw money from his business, documents say.
While he claimed his business was based on donations, court documents say DeHaan charged $145 for an initial health consultation and sold nutrients, internal cleansers, essential oils and other products – some of which DeHaan grew in his bunker.
Researcher Maria David contributed.