2020 : 6 Charged In Plot To Kidnap Governor

October 8, 2020 all-day

The FBI thwarted what they described as a plot to violently overthrow the government and kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer from her vacation home.

Members of the militia group allegedly purchased weapons, conducted surveillance and held training and planning meetings, but their plans were thwarted when multiple informants — who didn’t know about one another — infiltrated the group, according to the criminal complaint.

“All of us in Michigan can disagree about politics, but those disagreements should never ever amount to violence,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider¬† of the Eastern District said during a press conference today.

Attorney General Dana Nessel also announced state charges against seven men for providing material support for terrorist acts, a 20-year felony, for calling on the groups’ members to identify the home addresses of law enforcement officers in order to target them; making threats of violence to instigate a civil war leading to societal collapse; and engaging in the planning and training operation to attack the state Capitol building and kidnap officials, including Whitmer.

Some of the men also face charges of felony firearms and gang membership, which can be served consecutive to the terrorism charge.

U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge of the Western District said the group communicated via encrypted platforms with code words and phrases to avoid detection.

Birge said members also conducted coordinated surveillance on Whitmer’s vacation home and that Fox and Croft discussed detonating explosive devices to divert police from the area of the vacation home.

Fox inspected the underside of a Michigan highway bridge to place explosives and the group “successfully detonated” one device wrapped with shrapnel to test its anti-personnel capabilities, Birge said. He said Fox also purchased a Taser to use in the plot.

The FBI and state police arrested several of co-conspirators when they met on the east side of the state “to pool funds for explosives and exchange tactical gear,” Birge said.

The federal affidavit was filed hours after FBI agents raided Garbin’s Hartland Township home Wednesday.

Nessel said search warrants also were executed in Grand Rapids, Luther, Canton, Orion Township, Waterford, Belleville, Milford, Cadillac, Shelbyville, Plainwell, Zeeland, Munith, Ovid, Kalamazoo, Charlotte, Clarkston, Sterling Heights and Shelby Township.

FBI Special Agent Richard Trask II’s affidavit says several members of the militia group talked about state governments they believed violated the U.S. Constitution, including Whitmer, and they talked about “murdering ‘tyrants’ or ‘taking’ a sitting governor.”

“The group decided they needed to increase their numbers and encouraged each other to talk to their neighbors and spread their message,” Trask said.

Part of that recruitment effort had Fox reaching out to the militia group, according to the affidavit.

The militia group had already been on the FBI’s radar when a local police department indicated in March that members of the group tried to obtain the addresses of local law-enforcement officers, the affidavit reads.

Trask writes that in early 2020 the FBI became aware through social media that a group discussed the “violent overthrow” of government and law enforcement, including Croft and Fox who “agreed to unite others in their cause and take violent action.”

About 13 people met in June in Dublin, Ohio, where the group talked about creating a society that followed the U.S. Bill of Rights and where they could be self-sufficient, the affidavit reads.

The FBI learned that Fox and the others discussed needing 200 men to “storm the Capitol building in Lansing” and take hostages, including Whitmer, whom they planned to try for treason. The plan was to take place before the November elections.

Sources :

MIRS Breaking News, October 8, 2020.

Pilar Melendez, Hunter Woodall, Will Sommer, William Bredderman, and Eli Newman,¬† “Feds Bust Militia Plot to Kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Overthrow Government: Affidavit“, Daily Beast, October 8, 2020.