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Two Georgia men in domestic terror plot sentenced to five years

Rifle with silencer

Two of the group of elderly men who plotted to buy explosives and silencers to use in a domestic terror plot aimed at federal and state government officials and buildings, were sentenced to five years in prison on Aug. 22.

Frederick Thomas, 73, of Cleveland, GA; and Dan Roberts, 68, of Toccoa, GA, were sentenced to serve time in federal prison on charges of conspiring to obtain an unregistered explosive device and silencer.

Thomas and Roberts were among four men arrested in November after a government informant infiltrated their clandestine meetings. Ray Adams, 65, and Samuel Crump, 68, were charged with conspiracy and attempting to make the potent biotoxin ricin in the case. Crump and Adams are currently awaiting trial. Federal authorities described the group at the time of their arrests as a “fringe militia group” set on creating a “covert” operations team set on undermining local and federal government through murder, theft and bioattack.

“These defendants didn’t just talk about killing government officials and law enforcement officers, they purchased equipment, including a silencer and what they thought were explosive devices, to carry out their plans. Now they will spend five years in prison,” said U.S. attorney Sally Quillian Yates.

“The FBI’s number one priority is to prevent another terrorist attack, irrespective of whether that attack or plot to attack originates from an international group or a domestic one,” said Brian Lamkin, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office. “The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) here in Atlanta, along with its many and varied agency partners, after gathering actionable intelligence regarding this domestic based threat, launched a comprehensive criminal investigation to dismantle and disrupt this threat before an attack could occur and did so while remaining within the rule of law.”

Thomas was sentenced to five years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Roberts was given the same five year sentence with three months probation. Both men were sentenced in April after pleading guilty to the charges.

According to court documents, in March and April 2011, the men met with each other and others to discuss the formation of the self-described “covert group,” its purposes, and their need to acquire weapons, ammunition, food, and survival gear. 

Ultimately they were caught up in an FBI sting operation when they tried to buy what they thought were gun silencers and explosives.