Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Michigan State Police have arrested six people, some from West Michigan, in a plot to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Multiple raids were conducted across the state last night in an effort to expose and break up the plot that included taking the Governor out of state for a trial in which they would charge her with treason.
According to the criminal complaint, the group dubbed itself ‘Wolverine Watchmen’ and began meeting, including at one point in Grand Rapids, to discuss operational plans, conduct tactical training, and make efforts to recruit other members. Organizers of the group wanted to see around 200 members in an effort to carry out their violent plans.
Nessel says search warrants were executive in Grand Rapids, Harland, Luther, Canton, Oirion Township, Waterford, Bellville, Milford, Cadillac, Shelbyville, Plainwell, Zeeland, Munith, Ovid, Kalamazoo, Charlotte, Clarkston, Sterling Heights, and Shelby Township. “Our efforts uncovered elaborate plans to endanger the lives of law enforcement officers, government officials and the broader public.” according to Nessel.
No casualties were reported.
Nessel says those plans included using explosives to distract law enforcement. One member had scouted out a location near the Governor’s vacation home and had even inspected a nearby bridge in order to find a key location to blow it up. The plan was to cut off law enforcement from arriving in time to interfere with their plot.
Attorney Andrew Birge of the Western District of Michigan says the members were arrested on charges of conspiracy to kidnap the Governor. The complaint sites Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Caleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Concerta who allegedly conspired to kidnap Whitmer from her vacation home before the November election.
Birge says the FBI began investigating the group earlier this year after becoming aware of the groups activities through social media. Birge says “A group of individuals was discussing the violent overthrow of certain government and law enforcement components.”
Confidential sources, undercover agents, and clandestine recordings helped to uncover the plot and the participants.
Birge also says the group made use of technology to conceal their actions.
“The alleged conspirators used operational security measures, including communicating by encrypted messaging platforms. They used code words and phrases in an attempt to avoid detection by law enforcement.”
Their efforts went beyond discussing taking the governor by force.
They included Fox allegedly purchasing a taser to be used in the kidnapping, producing and testing an improvised explosive device wrapped in shrapnel, to test its anti-personnel capabilities. State Police and FBI arrested some of the members while they met on the eastern side of the state to pool funds and exchange tactical gear.
The alleged conspirators will be prosecuted in West Michigan.