The FBI has charged six men over an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
According to an FBI complaint Thursday, the alleged plot included plans to overthrow several state governments that the suspects “believe are violating the US Constitution,” including the government of Michigan and Whitmer.
Whitmer has been the target of multiple death threats after issuing stay at home orders to curb coronavirus.
In April, protesters and militia gathered at the state capitol for a rally telling her to lift her stay-at-home order.
At one point in the spring, armed protesters entered the state capitol, where it is legal to openly carry firearms, and demanded an end to Michigan’s state of emergency.
The FBI became aware of the plot to kidnap Whitmer in early 2020 through social media and have now listed the group of individuals.
The six individuals charged in the Western District of Michigan with conspiracy to kidnap are Michigan residents Adam Fox, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, Brandon Caserta, and Delaware resident Barry Croft.
According to Court documents released Thursday October 8, the FBI planted an undercover agent to travel to Dublin, Ohio, on June 6 for a meeting with Croft, Fox and about 13 others.
“They 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.
At a point during the meeting, the group discussed methods of increasing their members and Fox reached out to a “Michigan base militia group,” according to the FBI complaint.
By June 14, a second confidential informant confirmed that Fox was introduced to the leader of the militia group and they met in Grand Rapids, Michigan ahead of the plot.
The informant audio recorded conversations with Fox in which he allegedly said he needed “200 men” to storm the Capitol building in Lansing and take hostages, including governor Whitmer.
According to the FBI complaint, Fox explained they would try the governor of Michigan for “treason” and he said they would execute the plan before the November 2020 elections.
On June 20, Fox, Garbin and others met at Fox’s business in Grand Rapids where attendees turned over their cell phones that would be placed in a trap door hidden under a rug on the main floor after they met in a basement.
“The attendees discussed plans for assaulting the Michigan State Capitol, countering law enforcement first responders, and using ‘Molotov cocktails’ to destroy police vehicles.
The attendees also discussed plans for an additional meeting during the first weekend of July when they also would conduct firearms and tactical training,” according to the criminal complaint.
The five defendants attended court today, Thursday afternoon.
Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, a Republican, strongly condemned the threat against the governor.
“A threat against our governor is a threat against us all,” Shirkey said in a statement.
“We condemn the actions of the group of individuals that plotted against Governor Whitmer and state government. These people are not patriots. There is no honor in their actions. They are criminals and traitors, and they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”