Six men were charged Thursday in an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, according to a federal criminal complaint.
Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta were charged in the Western District of Michigan with conspiracy to kidnap.
The FBI became aware through a social media group of individuals that were discussing the violent overthrow of certain government and law-enforcement components, according to the criminal complaint.
“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 Whitmer, according to the complaint.
Court documents say the FBI planted a confidential informant 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 one point during the meeting, the group discussed increasing its members and Fox reached out to a “Michigan base militia group,” according to the 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. The informant audio recorded conversations with Fox where he said he needed “200 men” to storm the Capitol building in Lansing, Michigan, and take hostages, including Whitmer, according to the criminal 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, according to the criminal complaint.
On June 20, Fox, Garbin and others met at Fox’s business in Grand Rapids where attendees met in the basement to turn over their cell phones that would be placed in a trap door hidden under a rug on the main floor, according to the criminal complaint.
“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.