Driver arrested in viral video says she is an ‘American State National.’ What is that?

A South Florida resident who recently claimed immunity before being accused of driving an Audi with a fake diplomatic license plate claims to be an American State National.

The arrest of Ceceilia Selina Mercado, 32, went viral on social media after a video recorded by her passenger showed a Sunny Isles Beach police officer yanking her from a 2014 white Audi, pinning her against the car with a shocked look on her face and putting her in handcuffs. The Audi’s tag stated she was a “diplomat” and an “ambassador at large” — which police said turned out to not be the truth.

“I’m an American State National,” Mercado told Local 10 after being released from a Miami jail. In an Instagram story, the New York-born singer — stage name Sessi — said the officer who pulled her out of the 2014 white Audi she was driving “was out of line.”

Nearly two hours after the woman left the jail, Sunny Isles Beach cops said they arrested her driver, 22-year-old Andres Lopez-Escobar, for the same offense — this time drawing their guns as he remained seated in a 2022 Mercedes-Benz Maybach valued at nearly $200,000. With him was Mercado and another passenger.

But what is an American State National? What do they believe in? And, what does the FBI say about ideologies like theirs?

Here’s what to know about the fringe movement:

What is an American State National?

American State National is a term used by sovereign citizens and some QAnon adherents to refer to themselves, reflecting their belief that they are not citizens of what they perceive as an illegitimate, tyrannical federal government, according to the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that tracks extremist groups.

What do they believe in?

Followers of this movement falsely believe they are exempted from the jurisdiction of all U.S. laws, which they interpret as interfering with their lives, according to, a law enforcement website.

ASN leaders teach that acquiring a “non-national citizen” U.S. passport, which they believe officially recognizes their status by the federal government, grants them diplomatic immunity, the website says.

READ MORE: Woman in viral video yanked from car by Sunny Isles cop charged for fake diplomatic tag

There is a growing trend of ASNs presenting these passports to police officers when asked for identification during traffic stops, according to the website. But when officers demand ASNs to give them their driver’s licenses, the traffic stop can quickly take a deadly turn.

READ MORE: His $200,000 Mercedes-Benz’s tag claimed he was a diplomat. That didn’t fly with the cops

In March 2023, police stopped ASN follower Chase Allen, 25, in Farmington, Utah, after spotting an ASN-themed license plate on his blue BMW. Allen first declined to give the officer his ID but later provided his U.S. passport. But when Allen told cops he would not get out of the car and a second officer opened the passenger door to get him out, police say Allen reached for his gun and they shot him dead.

What does the FBI say about similar ideologies?

Sometimes called sovereign citizens, people within this loose network regularly commit minor offenses like having false license plates, driver’s licenses and currency, according to the FBI. However, a closer look at sovereign citizens’ more severe crimes, from financial scams to impersonating or threatening law enforcement officials, gives reason for concern, the FBI said in a 2011 report. From 2000 to 2010, lone-sovereign citizens killed six police officers.

“If someone challenges their ideology, the behavior of these sovereign-citizen extremists quickly can escalate to violence,” the FBI said.