Tuesday, March 30, 2010

FBI: Little Chance Of Copycat Militia Plots

FBI officials see little chance the arrests of nine suspects in an alleged Christian militia plot will spur other anti-government extremists to launch their own violent attacks.

Suspected members of a group that called itself Hutaree were allegedly plotting to kill police officers. Eight suspects were captured over the weekend in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.

The FBI issued a bulletin to police departments saying they have picked up Internet chatter among other militia groups - including some expressing sympathy for the suspects -- but few signs of criminal copycats.

Eight Hutaree members appeared in federal court Monday. They were charged with seditious conspiracy -- plotting to levy war against the U.S. -- possessing a firearm during a crime of violence, teaching the use of explosives and attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction -- homemade bombs.

A standoff at a trailer in rural Lenawee County ended late Monday with the arrest of the ninth suspect.

FBI agents moved quickly against Hutaree because its members were planning an attack sometime in April, prosecutors said. Members had been undergoing paramilitary training, including learning how to shoot guns and make bombs, since 2008, according to an indictment. Authorities seized guns in the raids but would not say whether they found explosives.

Prosecutors said the suspected Hutaree ringleader, 44-year-old David Brian Stone of Clayton, identified law enforcement officers as potential targets. He and other members discussed setting off bombs at a police funeral, using a fake 911 call to lure an officer to his death, killing an officer after a traffic stop or attacking the family of an officer, according to the indictment.

The indictment said that after the attacks, the group planned to retreat to "rally points" protected by trip-wired explosives for a violent standoff with law enforcement personnel.

"It is believed by the Hutaree that this engagement would then serve as a catalyst for a more widespread uprising against the government," it said.

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