Six men have been charged in an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at her vacation home, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Thursday in federal court.
The six men were charged in the Western District of Michigan with conspiracy to kidnap. They were identified as Michigan residents Adam Fox, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, Brandon Caserta, and Barry Croft, of Delaware. The kidnap plot was supposed to be carried out at her vacation home in northern Michigan.
According to the court filing, four of the six men had planned to meet with a contact on Wednesday to make a payment for explosive and exchange tactical gear. The FBI first became aware of the plot in early 2020 through social media. The group of individuals were discussing the violent overthrow of certain government and law-enforcement components, the criminal complaint states.
"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.
The group allegedly "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.
“All of us can disagree about politics, but those disagreements should never, ever result in violence,” stated U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider, Eastern District of Michigan. “The allegations in this complaint are deeply disturbing. We owe our thanks to the men and women of law enforcement who uncovered this plot and have worked so hard to protect Governor Whitmer.”
The government reportedly used informants and undercover agents as part of the effort to thwart the alleged plot. According to the complaint, Fox allegedly said he wanted 200 men to storm the Michigan Capitol building in Lansing and take hostages - including Whitmer. Fox allegedly said he wanted to try Whitmer for "treason" and go through with the plan before the upcoming November general election.
“These alleged extremists undertook a plot to kidnap a sitting governor,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Josh P. Hauxhurst. “Whenever extremists move into the realm of actually planning violent acts, the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force stands ready to identify, disrupt and dismantle their operations, preventing them from following through on those plans.”
Authorities have scheduled a press conference for Thursday afternoon to go over more details of the alleged plot.
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