Michigan State Police and the FBI are investigating a conspiracy to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
The FBI relied on information provided by confidential human sources (CHS) and undercover employees (UCE) over several months.
The evidence set forth in the affidavit demonstrates probable cause to issue a criminal complaint charging Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, and Brandon Caserta with conspiring to kidnap Whitmer. Fox, Garbin, Franks, Harris and Caserta are residents of Michigan, and Croft is a resident of Delaware.
The affidavit was filed hours after a team of FBI agents raided a Hartland Township home Wednesday. Federal agents executed a search warrant Wednesday night at a property near Lansing Avenue in the Hartland Meadows manufactured housing community, off M-59 between Pleasant Valley Road and Tipsico Lake Road. The raid was caught by a neighbor on video, which was posted to YouTube.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said it was one of several raids that were carried out across the state, including in Grand Rapids, Luther, Canton, Orion Township, Waterford, Belleville, Milford, Cadillac, Shelbyville, Plainwell, Zeeland, Munith, Ovid, Kalamazoo, Charlotte, Clarkston, Sterling Heights and Shelby Township.
In early 2020, the FBI became aware through social media that a group of individuals were discussing the violent overthrow of certain government and law-enforcement components. Among those individuals identified were Croft and Fox. Through electronic communications, Croft and Fox agreed to unite others in their cause and take violent action against multiple state governments that they believe are violating the U.S. Constitution.
On June 6, Croft, Fox and approximately 13 other people from several states gathered in Dublin, Ohio. The group talked about creating a society that followed the U.S. Bill of Rights and where they could be self-sufficient. They discussed different ways of achieving this goal from peaceful endeavors to violent actions. At one point, several members talked about state governments they believed were violating the U.S. Constitution, including the government of Michigan and Whitmer. Several members talked about murdering “tyrants” or “taking” a sitting governor.
As part of that recruitment effort, Fox reached out to a Michigan based militia group.
On June 14, 2020, a CHS participated in a consensually recorded telephone call with Fox, who described the meeting in Dublin, Ohio. Fox said he needed “200 men” to storm the Capitol building in Lansing, Michigan, and take hostages, including the Governor. Fox explained they would try the Governor of Michigan for “treason,” and he said they would execute the plan before the November 2020 elections.
On July 27, Garbin told a CHS and others that he did not want to go after the Capitol. He said he was “cool” with going after the Governor’s vacation home, however, even if it only resulted in destruction of property.
On July 28, Fox posted the following to a private Facebook page: “We about to be busy ladies and gentlemen … This is where the Patriot shows up. Sacrifices his time, money, blood sweat and tears … it starts now so get … prepared!!”
On Sept. 12, while driving from Garbin’s property to Cadillac to bring others to the property, Fox told a CHS and another individual that the vacation home is the Governor’s actual house, “And it’s a perfect … setup. Out of everywhere that she resides, this is the only one that’s probably actually feasible with a success rate.”
FBI’s review of recent encrypted group chats indicated that, in preparation for their plan to kidnap Governor Whitmer, Fox, Garbin, Harris, and Franks planned to meet with a UCE on Oct. 7, to make a payment on explosives and exchange tactical gear. Caserta said he could not attend because he will be at work. Croft had returned to Delaware and is not available for this exchange.
On several occasions, Fox had expressed his intention and desire to kidnap Governor Whitmer before Nov. 3, 2020, the date of the national election.
During a press conference Thursday afternoon Oct. 8, Nessel said charges are pending and the investigation is ongoing.
Andrew Birge, U.S. Attorney for Western Michigan, said the arrests of the individuals took place Wednesday evening, Oct. 7, while the group was meeting on the west side of the state.
If the individuals are found guilty as charged, they face any number of years up to life in prison. “We must make sure violent extremists are never successful,” Birge said.
Birge said the FBI became aware of the plot through postings on social media. In their alleged plot to kidnap the governor, he said they used encrypted platforms and code words, as well as coordinated surveillance of the governor’s vacation home.
Nessel said there also charges pending against another seven individuals linked to the group, “Wolverine Watchmen” using the anti-terrorism act. These charges, too, are pending and may change.
Read the entire complaint
YouTube video of raid in Hartland Township