- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 30, 2010

DETROIT | Nine reputed members of a Christian militia group that was girding for battle with the Antichrist were charged Monday with plotting to kill a police officer and slaughter scores more by bombing the funeral, all in hopes of touching off an uprising against the U.S. government.

Seven men and one woman thought to be part of the Michigan-based Hutaree were arrested over the weekend in raids in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. The FBI said the last of nine people charged with plotting to kill police has been apprehended after a search in rural Michigan.

Andrew Arena, head of the FBI’s field office in Detroit, said Joshua Matthew Stone surrendered about 8 p.m. Monday at a home in Hillsdale County about 30 miles from the site of the weekend raid.

FBI agents moved quickly against Hutaree because its members were planning an attack sometime in April, prosecutors said. Authorities seized guns in the raids, but would not say whether they found any explosives.

The arrests have dealt “a severe blow to a dangerous organization that today stands accused of conspiring to levy war against the United States,” Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said.

Authorities said the arrests underscored the dangers of homegrown right-wing extremism of the sort seen in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people. In an indictment unsealed Monday, prosecutors said the group began military-style training in the Michigan woods in 2008, learning how to shoot guns and make and set off bombs.

David Brian Stone, 44, of Clayton, Mich., and one of his sons were identified as the ringleaders of the group. Mr. Stone, who was known as “Captain Hutaree,” organized the group in paramilitary fashion, and members were assigned secret names, prosecutors said. Ranks ranged from “radoks” to “gunners,” according to the group’s Web site.

“It started out as a Christian thing,” Mr. Stone’s ex-wife, Donna Stone, told the Associated Press. You go to church. You pray. You take care of your family. I think David started to take it a little too far.”

Mrs. Stone said her ex-husband pulled her son into the movement.

FBI and police surrounded a rural area Monday about 30 miles from the site of raid in Michigan and were using a nearby church as a staging area, but wouldn’t say whether their search was related to the weekend raids. Authorities arrived at Wheatland Church on Sunday night and were focusing on a trailer about a mile away, said Irene Wonders, wife of the church’s pastor.

Prosecutors said Mr. Stone had identified certain law enforcement officers near his home as potential targets. He and other members discussed setting off bombs at a police funeral, using a fake 911 call to lure an officer to his death, killing an officer after a traffic stop, or attacking the family of an officer, according to the indictment.

After such attacks, the group is said to have planned to retreat to “rally points” protected by trip-wired explosives for a violent standoff with the law.

“It is believed by the Hutaree that this engagement would then serve as a catalyst for a more widespread uprising against the government,” the indictment said.

The charges against the eight include seditious conspiracy — plotting to levy war against the U.S. — possessing a firearm during a crime of violence, teaching the use of explosives, and attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction — homemade bombs. The defendants were jailed, awaiting bail hearings Wednesday.

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