Digital Version of November/December 2014 Print Edition
Four men arrested in Georgia bio-weapon/bomb attack plot
Federal law enforcement agents arrested a gang of four elderly Georgia men on charges that their militia group was planning to make the potent biotoxin ricin and use it, along with automatic rifles and bombs, to kill fellow citizens and government employees.
On Nov. 1, the FBI arrested Frederick Thomas, 73, of Cleveland, GA, Dan Roberts, 67, Ray Adams, 65, and Samuel Crump, 68, all from Toccoa, GA, on charges that they planned to obtain an explosive device and gun silencer and to manufacture ricin for use in attacks around the Atlanta area.
“These defendants, who are alleged to be part of a fringe militia group, are charged with planning attacks against their own fellow citizens and government,” said U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia Sally Quillian Yates in a Nov. 1 statement. “To carry out their agenda, two of the defendants allegedly purchased purported explosives and a silencer, while the other two defendants took steps to attempt to produce a deadly biological toxin. While many are focused on the threat posed by international violent extremists, this case demonstrates that we must also remain vigilant in protecting our country from citizens within our own borders who threaten our safety and security.”
Citing court documents, federal search warrant information and documents in the public record, the FBI said Thomas, Roberts, Crump, Adams and others were members of a militia organization that began secret meetings of a fringe “covert” operations team starting around March 2011. During the meetings, the men allegedly discussed numerous criminal activities from murder, theft and manufacturing and using toxic agents, to assassinations in an effort to undermine federal and state government and to advance their interests, said the FBI.
According to the FBI, between March and April of 2011, Thomas, Roberts, Adams and others attended meetings to discuss targeting various government officials, including employees of federal agencies like the Internal Revenue Service. The meetings, however, were monitored by an FBI informant, who recorded the meetings and passed the information on to the agency.
During the meetings, Thomas, Roberts and others allegedly discussed the need to buy unregistered gun silencers and explosive devices for use in attacks against federal government buildings and employees, as well as against local police. Thomas, Roberts and others also discussed the use of the biological toxin that can kill individuals in small doses, said the FBI. The men acknowledged their actions would constitute murder, but reasoned that the actions were necessary in accordance with their ideology, according to the FBI.
In May and June, Thomas and Roberts met with an FBI undercover agent who purported to be a seller of silencers and explosive devices. Thomas and Roberts allegedly agreed to purchase a silencer and an explosive device and discussed using both in attacks against federal buildings, according to court documents. Thomas also allegedly conducted surveillance of federal buildings in Atlanta and discussed possible attacks on them with the FBI informant, for what Thomas said were “treasonous” activities by the government. Thomas also allegedly stated that he believed that these actions needed to be undertaken against both federal and state government officials, and advised that the group would need a great deal of explosives to accomplish its mission, said the FBI.
From June, up until November 2011, Thomas and Roberts met with the undercover agent and negotiated purchase of a silencer for a rifle and conversion parts to make a fully automatic rifle, as well as explosives, said the FBI.
Court documents also charge that Roberts described another individual named “Sammy” who had manufactured the biological toxin ricin and had access to the castor beans used to make the potent poison. During one of the group’s meetings in September, recorded by the FBI’s informant, Samuel Crump arrived and said that he would like to make 10 pounds of ricin and disperse it in various U.S. cities, including Atlanta. Crump described a scenario for dispersing the poison in Atlanta in which it would be blown from a car traveling on the interstates. Crump allegedly also said that he possessed the ingredient used to make the toxin and cautioned the source about the dangers of handling it.
The complaints allege that in October 2011, Crump described to the FBI’s source the process to make ricin and advised that the materials should be purchased at different locations far from where he lived. Crump again discussed various methods of and locations to disperse it, and told the FBI source that the powdered substance is deadly if it comes into contact with a person’s skin or lungs. During another meeting in October, Adams allegedly provided a sample of the castor beans used to make ricin that he obtained from a storage container of the beans at his residence in Stephens County, GA. Crump, in turn, passed the sample on to the FBI source. During a meeting on Oct. 29, Crump allegedly told the source that he was going to shell the beans that week, and Adams explained to the source how to manufacture ricin, exhibited a formula used to make ricin, and identifyied the ways he planned to obtain the ingredients to do so, said the FBI.
FBI agents arrested all four defendants on Nov. 1 without incident and executed search warrants at the residences of the four defendants. They are expected to make an initial appearance on the charges before a federal judge on Nov. 3.