Federal authorities on Tuesday arrested four Georgia senior citizens for allegedly plotting to attack U.S. citizens and government officials with the deadly toxin ricin. Lets meet the players.
Frederick Thomas; Cleveland, Ga.; 73
Thomas was allegedly the leader of the bunch. He lives in a brown two-story family residence that sits on two acres of property. The first meeting allegedly took place at his home, where he claimed he had enough weapons to arm everyone present.
An FBI affidavit said he claimed to have compiled a “bucket list” of government employees, politicians, corporate leaders and members of the media who would need to be “taken out” to “make the country right again.”
Thomas allegedly said that there “is no way for us, as militiamen, to save this country, to save Georgia, without doing something that’s highly, highly illegal. Murder. That’s fucking illegal, but it’s gotta be done.”
“When it comes time to saving the Constitution, that means some people gotta die,” Thomas allegedly said.
“Let’s shoot the bastards that we discover are anti-American or enemies of America, treasonous,” Thomas allegedly said. “And to me the easiest and best way to do that is to walk up behind them with a suppressed .22. I am of the, uh, old school, Mafia; one behind the ear with a .22 is all you need.”
Meeting with an undercover FBI agent, Thomas allegedly explained that his “covert group” was planning to carry out the actions of the main characters from the book “Absolved,” written by right-wing blogger and former militia man Mike Vanderboegh. He allegedly said he considered himself expendable because of his age.
“We need to place within an ATF or DEA big black van. When they fill up their people, we’re gonna take them all out at once,” Thomas allegedly said, speaking of possible explosives. “I ain’t worried about dying.”
Thomas said that the senior citizens had begun physical training and fitness to prepare for the physical demands their plans required.
According to a Red State profile which matches his description, Thomas is a Vietnam vet who worked as an aerospace communications systems engineer and held “top secret security clearance for nearly 50 years.”
His wife, Charlotte Thomas, said her husband didn’t have an attorney yet.
Dan Roberts; Toccoa; 67
Roberts drives a 1990 Red Ford Ranger pickup and lives in a yellow-sided home on a 1.8 acre plot of land. Roberts allegedly said he knew people in Habersham County who “had a substance that could kill people with a very small amount.” He claimed he’d been talking to a former Army soldier living in Stephens County whom he descibed as a “loose cannon” who manufactured ricin. Roberts said he personally saw the ricin in powder form.
In August, Roberts allegedly met with a cooperating source in a Cornelia, Georgia restaurant and provided a two way radio for team communications. He alleged that the radios had been stolen from the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. FBI agents who examined the radio found that serial numbers and identifiers have been “obliterated” but that they were assigned to channels that indicate military unit nomenclature. They are still trying to determine if the radios were stolen.
During a meeting on Oct. 21, Roberts expressed concern about buying an explosive device from an undercover FBI agent because he was concerned he could be a “cop,” but he said he was still going through with the deal. He said the next group meeting would take place at his home.
As TPM previously reported, Roberts sued a number of local officials and a newspaper in federal court in relation to a 2004 “Southern Heritage” event he organized at a middle school that featured the Confederate flag. According to the lawsuit, he “co-sponsored and assisted in flag rallies organized by the Southern Rights Association [hereafter SRA]. He is widely known in the area as a flag supporter.”
According to the Georgia militia, he’s commanding officer of the 440th squad.
His wife said he’d never “been in trouble with the law. He’s not anti-government. He would never hurt anybody.”
Ray H. Adams; Toccoa; 65
A retired Department of Agriculture employee, Adams lives in “a single story shelter constructed of wood plants and a metal roof.” The rear of the shelter, according to an FBI affidavit, “is a travel trailer used for its kitchen facilities and storage.” It’s located on 17.21 acres.
Adams allegedly showed off plaques from his career regarding his certifications and training and said that he worked in the horticultural field. The USDA confirmed he worked for the Agricultural Research Service as a lab technician. Adams thought his experience gave him a leg up.
“Well I’ve never done it (made ricin) but I have laboratory experience, and once you extract that stuff enough just splashing it on your skin can kill ya,” he allegedly said.
Adams’ compound allegedly had laboratory equipment and the beans needed to make ricin. He appears to have been fully on board with the plan.
“I’d say the first ones that need to die is the ones in the government buildings,” Adams allegedly said. “When it comes down to it, I can kill somebody.”
Samuel J. Crump, Toccoa, Ga. 68
Crump, pictured above in a photo posted on MySpace and Facebook, lived in a mobile that sat on .27 acres. The Centers for Disease Control told the FBI he worked as a contractor for the agency doing “maintenance type services.”
On his Facebook page, Crump is a member of a number of Tea Party affiliated groups as well as one called “DEAR LORD, THIS YEAR YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTOR, PATRICK SWAYZIE. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTRESS, FARAH FAWCETT. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE SINGER, MICHAEL JACKSON. I JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW, MY FAVORITE PRESIDENT IS BARACK OBAMA. AMEN.”
Crump was seen as the arrested group’s expert on ricin.
“Ya got, ya can’t let none of it get on your skin,” he allegedly said. “Got to be a closed environment when it’s made. No wind. If it gets up your nose… there’s no cure.”
He also had some recommendations for how the group could launch their attack.
“You take a pound of that (unintelligible), get upwind, up around Washington, DC, get about 20,000 feet (in an airplane), and turn that shit loose, it’d cover the whole (unintelligible) of Washington,” he allegedly said. Alternatively, he suggested releasing the ricin out of a car on the highway.
“Just think, put all that shit out, and it starts goin’ towards Washington, peoples starts kicking the bucket like that, you’re talking about a red flag buddy,” Crump allegedly said.