CAMBRIA, Wis. - The FBI says it broke up a plot to kidnap Michigan's governor before Election Day, a plot with several Wisconsin connections.
Brandon Caserta, Adam Fox, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, Ty Garbin (not pictured: Barry Croft)
In early 2020, the FBI says they learned on social media that some people were talking about a "violent overthrow of certain government and law-enforcement components."
On June 6, some of the men gathered in Dublin, Ohio, and the FBI says they discusssed "creating a society that followed the U.S. Bill of Rights and where they could be self-sufficient."
Then on June 14, the FBI reports one of the men, Adam Fox, said he needed "200 men" to storm the Capitol building in Lansing, Michigan -- and take hostages, including Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Fox explained they would kidnap the governor and take her to Wisconsin for trial on the charge of treason, the FBI alleges, and execute the plan before the November 2020 elections.
The FBI complaint says five of the men (Fox, Croft, Garbin, Franks, and Caserta), and others came to Cambria, a small town in Columbia County, Wisconsin from July 10-12. The FBI alleges the men trained on guns and combat drills. Croft tried to build an improvised explosive device, but failed, the criminal complaint alleges.
The FBI accuses the group of twice doing surveillance of Whitmer's vacation home in Michigan-- and that included two unnamed people from Wisconsin.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-Michigan)
"Fox and Croft in particular discussed detonating explosive devices to divert police from the area of the home," said Andrew Birge, United States Attorney.
Besides the FBI arresting six men, Michigan arrested seven others connected with a militia called the "Wolverine Watchmen."
In announcing the second group of arrests, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said they "made threats of violence intending to instigate a civil war, and engaged in training and planning for an operation to attack the capitol building of Michigan and to kidnap government officials, including the governor of Michigan."
In response to the plot against her, Governor Whitmer said, "A few isolated groups in the backwater of American life still hold perverted notions of what America is all about."
The FBI's investigation took months -- and relied on undercover agents, confidential sources, and secret recordings of group meetings and phone calls. Hundreds of officers worked on the case.
Wisconsin's attorney general was not involved.
If convicted, the men accused of this plot could face up to life in prison.
News conferences with federal officials, Gov. Whitmer