AMERICAN TERRORISTS THWARTED! Michigan dragnet nabs six suspects in attempt to kidnap Gov. Whitmer, attack law enforcers and lawmakers
The FBI says it thwarted what it described as a plot to violently overthrow the government and kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and federal prosecutors are expected to discuss the alleged conspiracy later Thursday.
The alleged plot involved reaching out to members of a Michigan militia, according to a federal affidavit filed Thursday.
The court filing also alleges the conspirators twice conducted surveillance at Whitmer’s personal vacation home and discussed kidnapping her to a “secure location” in Wisconsin to stand “trial” for treason prior to the Nov. 3 election.
“Several members talked about murdering ‘tyrants’ or ‘taking’ a sitting governor,” an FBI agent wrote in the affidavit. “The group decided they needed to increase their numbers and encouraged each other to talk to their neighbors and spread their message.”
The conspiracy described by the FBI specifically involved at least six people, including Ty Garbin, 24, whose home was raided by agents in Hartland Township late Wednesday.
The six individuals charged in the Western District of Michigan with conspiracy to kidnap are Michigan residents Adam Fox, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, Brandon Caserta, and Delaware resident Barry Croft.
Col. Joseph Gasper, director of the Michigan State Police, which worked with federal agents on the investigation, called the case “unprecedented,” and “one of the largest cases in recent history that the Michigan State Police has been involved in.”
The FBI became aware early in 2020, through social media, that a militia group was “discussing the violent overthrow of certain government and law enforcement components,” and “agreed to take violent action,” according to a sworn affidavit.
Members of the group talked about “murdering … tyrants” or “taking” a sitting governor, according to the affidavit. One of the relevant meetings the FBI monitored was held June 20 in Grand Rapids. the affidavit alleges. Another meeting was held at a home in Luther, Mich., and in Munith.
The Michigan militia group involved in the plot was called the Wolverine Watchmen, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said at a Thursday news conference.
Over the summer, the men gathered for firearms training, combat drills and tried to make explosives; in July, one of the men said the group should take Ms. Whitmer hostage and move her to a “secure location” in Wisconsin for a “trial,” the agent said.
The F.B.I. said it had learned so much about the group by intercepting encrypted messages and because it had undercover agents and confidential informants working with the group.
The six men — five of whom live in Michigan and one of whom lives in Delaware — were charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, which can carry a life sentence. More details were expected at a news conference later on Thursday with the state’s attorney general.
Ms. Whitmer has been the subject of attack from right-wing protesters for measures she imposed to control the spread of the coronavirus.
The Detroit News has the arrest affidavit here.