The indictment describes an alleged plot that seems inspired by weapons more associated with urban warfare in Iraq than with rural Michigan.
The Hutaree members allegedly "planned to kill an unidentified member of local law enforcement and then attack the law enforcement officers who gather in Michigan for the funeral."
The indictment continues: "According to the plan, the Hutaree would attack law enforcement vehicles during the funeral procession with Improvised Explosive Devices with Explosively Formed Projectiles, which, according to the indictment, constitute weapons of mass destruction."
That attack, in turn, would spark a more widespread Harper's Ferry-style uprising against the government, according to the "general concept of operations" described in the indictment.
It's far from clear how close the alleged plot was to fruition.
At one point in the indictment, Hutaree leader David Brian Stone and others are alleged to have planned to go to a militia "summit" in Kentucky for planning. But "weather conditions prevented them from reaching their destination."
Hutaree's Web site features videos of heavily armed members training in the woods, but seems more preoccupied with battling the Antichrist than the government.
In one late 2008 post on the group's forum page, a member writes that "ATF searching local FFL for info on Hutaree gun purchases. All members are advised to be locked and loaded, things may turn hot real quick here."
The authorities say that all but one of the nine defendants are in custody. The ninth, Joshua Stone, is described as a fugitive.
Late Update: One of the men charged, nicknamed "Pale Horse," appears to be the same militia member who called for citizens to arm themselves shortly before President Obama's election in 2008.
Here's the press release. And we've embedded the indictment below.
NINE MEMBERS OF A MILITIA GROUP CHARGED WITH SEDITIOUS CONSPIRACY AND RELATED CHARGES
Six Michigan residents, along with two residents of Ohio and a resident of Indiana, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Detroit on charges of seditious conspiracy, attempted use of weapons of mass destruction, teaching the use of explosive materials, and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence, United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade and FBI Special Agent in Charge Andrew Arena announced today.
The five count indictment, which was unsealed today, charges that between August 2008 and the present, the defendants, David Brian Stone, 45, his wife, Tina Stone, 44, his son, Joshua Matthew Stone, 21, of Clayton, Michigan, and his other son, David Brian Stone, Jr., 19, of Adrian, Michigan, Joshua Clough, 28, of Blissfield, Michigan, Michael Meeks, 40 of Manchester, Michigan, Thomas Piatek, 46, of Whiting, Indiana, Kristopher Sickles, 27, of Sandusky, Ohio, and Jacob Ward, 33, of Huron, Ohio, acting as a Lenawee County Michigan militia group called the Hutaree, conspired to oppose by force the authority of the U.S. government. According to the indictment, Hutaree members view local, state, and federal law enforcement as the "brotherhood", their enemy, and have been preparing to engage them in armed conflict.
The indictment further alleges that the Hutaree planned to kill an unidentified member of local law enforcement and then attack the law enforcement officers who gather in Michigan for the funeral. According to the plan, the Hutaree would attack law
enforcement vehicles during the funeral procession with Improvised Explosive Devices
with Explosively Formed Projectiles, which, according to the indictment, constitute
weapons of mass destruction. Subsequently, and in furtherance of this plan, David Brian Stone, the Hutaree's leader, obtained information about such devices over the
internet and emailed diagrams of such devices to a person he believed capable of
manufacturing the devices. He then had his son, Joshua Matthew Stone, and others
gather materials necessary for the manufacturing of such devices.
According to the indictment, in June 2009, David Brian Stone and his other son, David Brian Stone, Jr., taught other Hutaree members how to make and use explosive devices intending or knowing that the information would be used to further a crime of violence. In addition, the grand jury charged all nine defendants with carrying or possessing a firearm during a crime of violence on at least one occasion.
U.S. Attorney McQuade said, "Because the Hutaree had planned a covert reconnaissance operation for April which had the potential of placing an unsuspecting member of the public at risk, the safety of the public and of the law enforcement community demanded intervention at this time."
Andrew Arena, FBI Special Agent in Charge, said, "This is an example of radical and extremist fringe groups which can be found throughout our society. The FBI takes such extremist groups seriously, especially those who would target innocent citizens and the law enforcement officers who protect the citizens of the United States. The FBI would like to thank our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners who are member of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, for their assistance in this case."
As of this morning, eight of the nine defendants are in custody and seven of them will be making their initial appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Donald A. Scheer at 10 am. Joshua Stone is currently a fugitive. Any person with information as to the whereabouts of this individual should contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation at (313) 965-2323.
The charge of seditious conspiracy carries a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, Attempted Use of a Weapon of Mass Destruction carries a statutory maximum penalty of life in prison, Teaching the Use of Explosives Materials carriers a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and Possessing a Firearm During a Crime of Violence carries a mandatory minium penalty of at least 5 years in prison.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case was investigated by special agents of the FBI and the Michigan State Police.