Updated 12:45 p.m.
An indictment unsealed today in federal district court in Detroit charges six Michigan residents and three others for their alleged involvement in a Christian militia whose members had allegedly been planning to kill local, state and federal law enforcement in armed conflict in April.
Charging documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan alleged that the nine defendants were members of a Michigan militia called Hutaree. Federal prosecutors said the Hutaree planned to kill a law enforcement officer and then attack the officers who gathered in Michigan for the funeral.
The Hutaree, according to charging documents, intended to use improvised explosive devices to attack law enforcement vehicles during the funeral procession.
Charges against the nine defendants, seven of whom made their initial appearance in federal district court this morning, include seditious conspiracy, attempted use of weapons of mass destruction and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence. Attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. A follow-up detention hearing is scheduled for Wednesday at 1 p.m. before Magistrate Donald Scheer in Detroit.
The alleged Hutaree leader, David B. Stone, 45, researched improvised explosive devices on the Internet and e-mailed diagrams to a person he thought could build the bomb, according to prosecutors. Stone is charged along with his wife and two sons. One of the sons, Joshua Stone, 21, is a fugitive, according to prosecutors.
Federal agents raided several sites this weekend, according to press reports in Michigan. “Because the Hutaree had planned a covert reconnaissance operation for April which had the potential of placing an unsuspecting member of the public at risk, the safety of the public and of the law enforcement community demanded intervention at this time," U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said in a statement today.
The Hutaree is a “radical and extremist fringe group,” according to a statement today from Andrew Arena, an FBI special agent who was part of the investigative team. “The FBI takes such extremist groups seriously, especially those who would target innocent citizens and the law enforcement officers who protect the citizens of the United States,” Arena said.
Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said in a statement this afternoon:
“The indictment unsealed today outlines an insidious plan by anti-government extremists to murder a law enforcement officer in order to lure police from across the nation to the funeral where they would be attacked with explosive devices. Thankfully, this alleged plot has been thwarted and a severe blow has been dealt to an dangerous organization that today stands accused of conspiring to levy war against the United States."