Men Accused in Gretchen Whitmer Kidnapping Case Hit with WMD Charges
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‘Can Make Things Go Boom’: Men Charged in Gov. Whitmer Kidnapping Plot Hit with New Weapons of Mass Destruction Charges

Three of the six men charged in the kidnapping plot against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) have been hit with additional charges of conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction in a superseding indictment on Wednesday. New federal firearms charges have been leveled against another two of the men.

The development represents a sharp escalation of charges against Adam Fox, Barry Croft Jr., and Daniel Joseph Harris, whom federal authorities first indicted last December, along with Kaleb FranksBrandon Caserta, and Ty Garbin. Garbin pleaded guilty to the kidnapping plot since that time and faces the possibility of life imprisonment upon his sentencing.

Prosecutors accuse the men of plotting how to “seize, confine, kidnap, abduct and carry away, and hold for ransom and reward, or otherwise, the Governor of the State of Michigan.”

“In addition, the defendants traveled in interstate commerce to plan and train for the kidnapping, practice building and detonating improvised explosive devices, and conduct surveillance of the Governor’s vacation home,” the indictment states.

Fox, Croft and Harris, the trio now facing charges of conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction, are said to be from different militia groups: Prosecutors say that Fox and Croft are members of the Three Percenters and Harris was a member of the Wolverine Watchmen.

“On or about May 1, 2020, in an encrypted internet communication related to joining the Wolverine Watchmen, Daniel Joseph Harris advised he was a Marine Corps infantry veteran who ‘can make things go boom if you give me what I need,’ and could use timing detonation cord,” the superseding indictment states.

Prosecutors claim that the remaining defendants “engaged in domestic terrorism,” as defined in the United States Code.

“That is, they engaged in activities within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, that involved acts dangerous to human life that were a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State; and which were intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping,” the new indictment states.

The DOJ also said in a press release that “on Sept. 13, 2020 in Lake County, Michigan, Croft and Harris knowingly possessed a destructive device that was not registered to them in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record as required by federal law.”

Furthermore, Harris is accused of possessing an “Anderson Manufacturing, Model AM-15, .223/5.56 mm caliber semiautomatic assault rifle with a barrel of less than 16 inches in length, that was not registered to him.”

Sometimes called “III%” as a shorthand, Three Percenters extremist organization is named upon the erroneous belief that only three-percent of American colonists participated in the revolution that overthrew British government rule. The Wolverine Watchmen’s name alludes to the nickname of Michigan, a state that has grappled with the problem of domestic extremism from the days of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

Harris “offered to recruit an associate with bomb-making experience to the Wolverine Watchmen” on May 18 of last year, according to the indictment.

On Sept. 13, Fox bought $4,000 worth of explosives from an undercover FBI agent posing as a co-conspirator, and he drove with Harris and others to Ypsilanti, Michigan the following month to make the payment, prosecutors say.

Attorneys for Fox, Croft and Harris did not immediately respond to emails requesting comment.

[Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images.]

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on MSNBC, BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks.