The FBI has thwarted a plot by a Michigan militia group to kidnap and assassinate Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — and overthrow the state government.
At least six people are expected to be arraigned Thursday following a series of raids in Wexford County and Hartland late Wednesday, The Detroit News said.
“Several members talked about murdering ‘tyrants’ or ‘taking’ a sitting governor,” an FBI agent wrote in the affidavit, the paper said.
Militia members at least twice conducted surveillance at Whitmer’s vacation home — and discussed kidnapping her and taking her to a remote location to force her to stand “trial” for treason before the Nov. 3 election, the affidavit said.
Whitmer became a target at least in part because of her controversial strict coronavirus lockdown measures that sparked mass protests in the Great Lake State, the affidavit said.
One of the militia members referred to her in June as “this tyrant bitch,” and stated, “I don’t know, boys, we gotta do something,” the court affidavit reportedly states.
The militia group was not identified, but members had met for firearms training and tactical drills, the documents claim.
The FBI had been tracking the militia since March over fears they had been trying to trace home addresses for local law-enforcement officers, the report said.
“At the time, the FBI interviewed a member of the militia group who was concerned about the group’s plans to target and kill police officers, and that person agreed to become a (confidential source),” the agent wrote.
The raids were also linked to an ongoing investigation into the death of a Detroit man killed during a shootout with FBI agents, the local reports said.
The affidavit filed in federal court detailed probable cause to charge the six with conspiring to kidnap Whitmer, the paper said.
The six included Ty Garbin, 24, whose home was raided by agents in Hartland Township late Wednesday, according to the report.
The others named in the affidavit were Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, Brandon Caserta. No ages or addresses were listed for them, and the militia group was not named, the paper said.
The investigation was sparked by social media posts bragging of plans to violently overthrow several state governments as well as law enforcement, the paper said of the affidavit.
“The group talked about creating a society that followed the U.S. Bill of Rights and where they could be self-sufficient,” the FBI agent wrote. “They discussed different ways of achieving this goal from peaceful endeavors to violent actions,” the affidavit stated.
Whitmer’s office did not immediately comment to The Detroit News Thursday.
Seamus Hughes, deputy director of George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, said the “lockdown has been a lightning rod for anti-government extremists in this country.”
“And Gov. Whitmer has been on the forefront of their targeting,” he told the paper.