August 29, 2013 Leith North Dakota – The bearded man with thinning, gray-and-bleach-blond hair flapping down his neck first appeared in this tiny agricultural town last year, quietly and inconspicuously roaming the crackly dirt roads.
Nettie Ketterling thought nothing of it when he came into her bar to charge his cellphone in an outlet beneath the mounted head of a mule deer. To Kenneth Zimmerman, the man was just another customer, bringing his blue Dodge Durango in for repairs. Bobby Harper did not blink when the man appeared in front of his house and asked him if he had any land to sell. And the mayor, Ryan Schock, was simply extending a civic courtesy when he swung by the man’s house to introduce himself.
Their new neighbor, they thought, was just another person looking to get closer to the lucrative oil fields in western North Dakota known as the Bakken.
But all that changed last week.
The Southern Poverty Law Center and The Bismarck Tribune revealed that the man, Paul Craig Cobb, 61, has been buying up property in this town of 24 people in an effort to transform it into a colony for white supremacists.
In the past two years, Mr. Cobb, a longtime proselytizer for white supremacy who is wanted in Canada on charges of promoting hatred, has bought a dozen plots of land in Leith (pronounced Leeth) and has sold or transferred ownership of some of them to a couple of like-minded white nationalists.
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