On Thursday, prosecutors announced that authorities had arrested 13, including seven men linked to the Wolverine Watchmen militant group, in connection with alleged plots to kidnap the Michigan governor and attack the state’s Congress building.
According to a testimony issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the group conspired to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat and was a constant target of criticism of Republican President Donald Trump, ahead of the presidential elections on November 3.
“Our efforts have uncovered plans to put the lives of law enforcement officers, government officials and the general public at risk,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nasell said at a press conference.
Internal security notes have warned, in recent months, that local extremists may pose a threat to election-related targets, posing a concern exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, political tension, civil unrest and external disinformation campaigns.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said during congressional hearings last September that his agency was conducting investigations into domestic extremists, including white racists and anti-fascist groups, adding that the largest part of the investigations was with white supremacist groups.
For his part, Andrew Brig, the US Attorney for the Western District, Michigan, indicated that the FBI learned, via social media, that a group was discussing a violent overthrow of the Michigan government, which sparked a months-long investigation that relied on secret sources within the group.
He added that a group of six people, namely: Adam Fox, Barry Croft, T Garban, Caleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta, face federal charges and could face life imprisonment if convicted on charges of attempting to kidnap Whitmire.
Berg explained, Fox and Croft in particular discussed detonating IEDs to divert police attention from the area of the home, and Fox also inspected the underside of a Michigan highway bridge for places to place explosives, referring to planning to target Whitmire’s home.
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