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FBI, police arrest 13 in plot to kidnap Michigan Governor, overthrow government

Posted by: jgomori Posted date: October 8, 2020

By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor with excerpts from news media

Thirteen members of two militia groups were arrested during a raid by multiple law enforcement agencies for plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and other state officials, overthrow the state government, and endanger law enforcement officers.

Hundreds of law enforcement officers from agencies working across state lines collaborated to locate the suspects Oct. 7, the Justice Department announced during an Oct. 8 press conference.

Six suspects were arrested on federal charges including: Michigan residents Adam Fox, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Casert as well as Delaware resident Barry Croft.

Whitmer said the militia members “were prepared to kidnap and possibly kill me,” during her own press conference Oct. 8.

The suspects were planning to kidnap Whitmer from her vacation home and state officials during an organized attack on the Michigan State Capitol, all before the Nov. 3 election, according to law enforcement officials. Both plans involved the use of explosives.

“As a mom with two teenage daughters and three stepsons, my husband and I are eternally grateful for everyone who worked to keep our family safe,” Whitmer said, thanking law enforcement agencies, FBI and Michigan State Police (MSP).

Seven members of the militia group known as the Wolverine Watchman were charged under Michigan’s anti-terrorism law, said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. The Michigan suspects are: Paul Bellar, 21, of Milford; Shawn Fix, 38, of Belleville; Eric Molitor, 36, of Cadillac; Michael Null, 38, of Plainwell; William Null, 38, of Shelbyville; Pete Musico, 42, and Joseph Morrison, 42, who live together in Munith.

The Wolverine Watchman members allegedly called on other members to locate police officers home addresses to target them; threatened violence to begin a civil war leading to societal collapse; and planned and trained for an attack on the state Capitol building and to kidnap Whitmer and other government officials.

The seven were all charged with providing material support for terrorist acts, a 20-year felony and/or $20,000 fine, and carrying or possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony, felony firearm, a two-year mandatory prison sentence to be served consecutively. Morrison and Musico were also charged with threat of terrorism, a 20-year felony and/or $20,000 fine. Charges of gang membership, a 20-year felony that may be served consecutively, were also brought against Bellar, Musico and Morrison.

“All of us can disagree about politics, but those disagreements should never, ever result in violence,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider in the Eastern District of Michigan. “We owe our thanks to the men and women of law enforcement who uncovered this plot and have worked so hard to protect Gov. Whitmer. At the end of the day, the people of Michigan should be reassured our state and federal government are working together to keep us all safe.”

Whitmer called on Americans to put aside their differences and unite to defeat COVID-19. “Hatred, bigotry and violence have no place in the great State of Michigan,” Whitmer said. “As your governor, I will never stop doing everything in my power to keep you and your family safe.”

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