Nine suspects linked to a self-described Christian militia called Hutaree were indicted Monday on sedition and weapons charges in what prosecutors say was a plot to spark an anti-government uprising by killing law enforcement officials.
The group's leader, David Brian Stone, along with his wife, two sons and several other co-conspirators, had stockpiled guns, ammunition and explosives, according to the indictment. The idea was to start by killing a police officer — either during a traffic stop or perhaps by luring the officer with a bogus 911 call — and then launch a second attack at the officer's funeral. They allegedly planned to do that by, among other things, using improvised explosive devices along the funeral route.
"It is believed by the Hutaree that this engagement would then serve as a catalyst for a more widespread uprising against the government," the indictment read.
Stone allegedly e-mailed diagrams of IEDs to someone he thought would know how to put them together, and then told his son to get the materials needed to make the devices. The indictment says Stone and his other son taught Hutaree members how to make explosives in June 2009.
Eight of the suspects were taken into custody this weekend after law enforcement officials fanned out over three states to arrest members of the Michigan-based group. The ninth suspect surrendered Monday night.
The arrests began Saturday evening when FBI agents surrounded a wooded property in Adrian, Mich., about 70 miles southwest of Detroit. Several suspects were taken into custody there. A short time later, members of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force raided homes in Hammond, Ind., and Sandusky, Ohio, looking for other members of the group.
The indictment did not say whether any explosives were uncovered in the raids.
Prosecutors say they moved in on the group out of concern that its members were about to launch part of the plan. FBI officials said the timing had nothing to do with recent threats over the passage of the new health care overhaul.
"Because the Hutaree had planned a covert reconnaissance operation for April, which had the potential for 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," said U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade. She did not provide any details on that operation.
According to the group's Web site, it is in training to do battle with the Antichrist. It isn't entirely clear how the federal government fits into that battle, though the group apparently sees local and state police as "foot soldiers" for the federal government. It views the federal government as the enemy.
The Web site, which also says members are "preparing for the end times," has video of people running through the woods in camouflage gear. They are firing assault rifles and wearing camouflage paint on their faces. The group says it came up with the term "Hutaree," which it says means Christian warrior.
All nine suspects face charges of seditious conspiracy, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence. Stone and one of his sons also face charges of teaching the use of explosive materials.