Hartland, MI – Michigan State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) raided a home in Hartland on Wednesday night that was tied to a plot to kidnap the governor and overthrow the state government.
FBI Special Agent Richard Trask said in a complaint charging six people that the conspiracy to commit the kidnapping began in June of 2020, WNEM reported.
Agent Trask said in the documents that the FBI had people undercover at meetings of the group that was plotting the kidnapping in Dublin, Ohio.
He said undercover agents heard the group plotting on June 20 to assault the state capitol and said they planned to use “Molotov cocktails” against police, WNEM reported.
U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Andrew Birge told reporters at press conference shortly after the charges were announced that the men were members of a group called the Wolverine Watchmen or associates of members of that group.
On Aug. 9, one of people at a meeting asked the group about kidnapping Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, according to Agent’s Trask’s complaint.
“They discussed different ways of achieving this goal from peaceful endeavors to violent actions … Several members talked about murdering ‘tyrants’ or ‘taking’ a sitting governor,” according to the complaint, WNEM reported.
The criminal complaint unsealed in federal court on Oct. 7 identified the suspects as Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, and Brandon Caserta, NBC News reported.
All of the men are from Michigan, except for Croft, who is a resident of Delaware.
“Through electronic communications, Croft and Fox agreed to unite others in their cause and take violent action against multiple state governments that they believe are violating the US Constitution,” including the government of Michigan and Whitmer, according to the charging documents, WNEM reported.
The FBI court filing said that four of the six men who were ultimately arrested had planned to meet on Oct. 7 to “make a payment on explosives and exchange tactical gear,” NBC News reported.
One of the men who was arrested was quoted in the complaint as having said Whitmer “has no checks and balances at all. She has uncontrolled power right now. All good things must come to an end.”
The affidavit said “the group decided they needed to increase their numbers and encouraged each other to talk to their neighbors and spread their message,” NBC News reported.
The complaint said that agents had collected texts, online chats, and phone calls as evidence of the plot to kidnap and overthrow the governor, WEYI reported.
Michigan officials announced at a press conference with federal law enforcement partners that the state would also be bringing multiple charges against several other individuals under the state’s new anti-terrorism laws.
Those men have been charged with numerous felonies including providing material support for terrorist acts, gang membership, carrying or possession of a firearm during commission of felony, and threat of terrorism.
Officials also said that in the course of the investigation that spanned multiple counties and cities in Michigan and Ohio, investigators learned group members had attempted to identify the addresses of law enforcement officers to target them in their homes and engage in civil war.
The governor’s office has said Whitmer will address reporters later in the day, WNEM reported.