The feds have revealed the jaw-dropping amount of firepower in the hands of the men who allegedly plotted to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer from her vacation home and put her on trial for “treason” over her COVID-19 restrictions.
A newly-filed 18-page court document rattles off the exhaustive arsenal that agents seized from properties linked to Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, and Brandon Caserta, six of the 14 men named as defendants in the case. The arsenal included 70 firearms, ghost guns, explosives, and nearly 2,000 rounds of ammunition.
While it’s not illegal to stockpile weapons in the U.S.—studies have indicated that just three percent of the U.S. adult population own half of the approximately 300 million firearms—the sheer volume of firepower that the accused men had available to them does cast an even more sinister light over their alleged scheme.
The plot came to light in October, when federal and state prosecutors revealed charges against 13 men, including members of the Michigan-based “Wolverine Watchmen” militia who regularly met to train for the “boogaloo”—code for a violent uprising against the government or impending civil war, according to the Associated Press.
The investigation had required the efforts of 200 law enforcement personnel who executed search warrants at locations in more than 13 cities across Michigan, and locations in Idaho, Delaware, and Ohio.
Some of the men had met online in early 2020 through a loose network of anti-government extremists. When COVID-19 hit the U.S. and state officials pursued lockdown measures, these men, like many other anti-government extremists, were able to direct their vague grievances about tyranny and overreach toward specific measures and individuals. Gov. Whitmer, a Democrat, became a target not just among Michiganders but on a national scale as anger over lockdowns spread.
While defense attorneys for the accused men have insisted that the Whitmer plot was just chatter and “loose talk,” prosecutors say that videos appearing to show the men “training” suggests they were deadly serious about their intentions. One shows two men in military gear, armed with AR-style rifles, jumping out of a car and firing at a target, while other armed men stand guard.
Prosecutors also say that the defendants considered a “Plan B” and “Plan C” if the kidnapping didn’t work out, including storming Michigan’s statehouse and holding televised executions of lawmakers over the course of a week, or barricading the doors and setting the building on fire.
Fourteen men in total have been charged in relation to the plot: Fox, Croft, Garbin, Franks, Harris, and Caserta are facing federal kidnapping charges, and several others have been charged in state court, facing an array of charges including gang membership, using a firearm in a felony, and providing material support for acts of terrorism. Earlier this week, a judge dropped pending terrorism charges against three of the defendants.