Nine members of a Christian extremist militia group, and area residents, have been indicted on federal charges after an alleged plot to kill local law enforcement officials.
The militia members, from Northwest Ohio, Southeast Michigan and Indiana, are said to have been training in Lenawee County for over a year as members of Hutaree. The group is an anti-goverment extremist organization whose - according to a federal indictment - enemies include local, state and Federal law enforcement, along with anyone who does not adhere to the group's beliefs. Their potential acts were to have included killing a member of law enforcement during a traffic stop, killing a member of law enforcement's family, or attacking the funeral procession of a member of law enforcement.
Federal investigators raided several homes of the suspected militia members over the weekend. Eight suspects were arrested in the raids conducted in Clayton, Mich., Adrian, Mich., Sandusky and Huron, Ohio and Indiana. Joshua Stone remains at large. On Monday, all nine suspects were charged by a federal court.
Those suspects indicted by a federal grand jury:David Brian Stone (aka. Joe Stonewall, Captain Hutaree) - Clayton, Mich.Tina Mae Stone - Clayton, Mich.Joshua Matthew Stone - Clayton, Mich. (still at large)David Brian Stone, Jr. - Adrian, Mich.Joshua John Clough - Blissfield, Mich.Michael David Meeks - Manchester, Mich.Thomas William Piatek - IndianaKristopher Sickles - Sandusky, OhioJacob Ward - Huron, Ohio
READ COMPLETE FEDERAL INDICTMENT -- Hutaree website-- MySpace: Hutaree -- YouTube: HutareeThe group is said to have started planning their attacks on area law enforcement in August 2008. David Brian Stone (Captain Hutaree) is believed to have been the principal leader of the group. Authorities say he organized the group's members into operational units and assigned tasks and training methods. His son, Joshua Matthew Stone, served as an explosive and weapons instructor for the group.
All group members are said to have participated in explosive and firearms training, which included use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and explosively formed projectiles (EFPs).
Investigators say by February 2010 Hutaree members had gathered in Lenawee County to being preparing for a "covert reconnaissance" exercise after identifying local law enforcement officers as potential targets. The exercise was scheduled for April 2010. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Barbara L. McQuade said, "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."
In the federal indictment released Monday, investigators allege the group had planned lure their targets to them by committing an intial crime of killing a law enforcement officer. The act would be deemed demoralizing to law enforcement, "diminshing their ranks and rendering them ineffective." In this way, militia members planned to lure law enforcement to the funeral of one of their peers and then ambush them. It was the Hutaree's plan to "wage war against the government" by use of IEDs and ambushes. It was their hope that their actions would lead to a more wide-spread uprising against the goverment.
The nine members of the extremist group are charged with up to five different federal counts each. All members are charged with seditious conspiracy; attempt to use weapons of mass destruction; and two counts of carrying, using, and possessing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. David Brian Stone and his son, David Brian Stone, Jr., are also charged with one count each of teaching/demonstrating use of explosive materials.
If convicted, each suspect faces up to life in prison. The charge of seditious conspiracy carries a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison; attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction carries a statutory maximum penalty of life in prison; teaching the use of explosives materials carriers a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison; and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison.