Two former Ohio militiamen have pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess unregistered explosive devices, the U.S. attorney for Ohio’s southern district announced Friday.
Ryan King and Randy Goodman, according to a February grand jury indictment, were two of approximately 12 members of the United Sheepdogs of Ohio militia group.
After establishing the group’s “Special Projects Team,” the pair allegedly traveled from Ohio to Kentucky to obtain various bomb-making materials, including a wire assembly and inert grenades.
“They really thought that this country was going to be invaded one day,” a man who said he was a former member of the militia told Cincinnatti station WCPO in June.
The indictment quotes alleged discussions the pair had about the potential use of the various explosive devices.
At the militia’s Christmas party last year, for example, King allegedly showed Goodman some of the parts he was charged with collecting, including steel pipe with end caps, “e-matches” and wireless relays. King allegedly commented, “This could go under a front seat of a car very easily, engine of a car, wired into the breaking.” Goodman allegedly responded, “I like that, that’s the method I like.”
It’s unclear how exactly the quotes of King and Goodman’s conversations were obtained by law enforcement. WCPO noted earlier this year that prosecutors provided the court with a screenshot from video recorded on the militiamembers’ properties (pictured above).
On Jan. 5, the indictment said, the pair tested explosive “crater makers” — CO2 cartridges equipped with a fuse and green electrical tape and “filled with an unknown substance,” the document said.
“You can take down a small tree with that,” King allegedly told Goodman after the pair allegedly tested one. After a second test, Goodman allegedly said, “That’s a nice unit, I can see me making a bunch of them.”
A few days later, on Jan. 18, after allegedly successfully using a remote firing system to launch a bottle rocket from a distance away, Goodman allegedly commented, “You could build these devices with a pipe bomb rigged to it or two, they could just be sitting somewhere ready to deploy.”
After an unsuccessful test earlier in the day, Goodman allegedly brought up the remote firing system used in the bombing of the Boston Marathon in 2013.
“Do we know how they build the pressure cookers for the Boston Bombers, anybody have a clue how that worked other than they remoted them with cell phones?” he allegedly asked. “We are talking about this same type of concept, I’m assuming with this type of set up a lot of freaking black powder, shrapnel, BB’s and whatever they had in it.”
King allegedly said that the remote system could be used “with a pipe bomb rigged to it or two.”
In a separate conversation, King allegedly said, “I want to focus on making these anti-personnel. I think these will be a lot more useful to us.”
Elsewhere in the indictment, King allegedly said he had made landmines in the past. And on separate occasions, he allegedly pointed out that steel pipe would be more lethal that PVC for use in a pipe bomb.
“I say if you’re throwing that shit out, it [sic] because you want to kill,” he allegedly said of the potential pipe bomb discussed on Jan. 5.
Ordering that Goodman be detained pending trial in February, Magistrate Judge Karen Litkovitz noted that a search of his home “revealed a pipe that had been thrown as part of the testing of the destructive devices, numerous firearms, including semi-automatic weapons, numerous rounds of ammunition, and high capacity magazines that were loaded.”
Ordering the same for King, Litkovitz wrote that a search revealed — in the same place “where he lived with his wife and two small children” — “numerous firearms, including semi-automatic weapons, 2,000 rounds of ammunition, and a ‘project box’ containing an improvised switching device.”