The four suspected militia members allegedly boasted of a “bucket list” of government officials who needed to be “taken out”; talked about scattering ricin from a plane or a car speeding down a highway past major U.S. cities; and scouted IRS and ATF offices, with one man saying, “We’d have to blow the whole building like Timothy McVeigh.”
Federal investigators said they had them under surveillance for at least seven months, infiltrating their meetings at a Waffle House, homes and other places, before finally arresting them Tuesday, just days after discovering evidence they were trying to extract ricin from castor beans.
The four gray-haired men — Frederick Thomas, 73; Dan Roberts, 67; Ray Adams, 65; and Samuel Crump, 68 — appeared in federal court Wednesday without entering a plea and were jailed for a bail hearing next week. They apparently had trouble hearing the judge, some of them cupping their ears.
Thomas and Roberts were charged with conspiring to buy an explosive device and an illegal silencer. Prosecutors would not say whether the men actually obtained the items. Adams and Crump were charged with conspiring to make a biological toxin.
Frederick Thomas, 73, a Navy veteran was described as the leader of the group.
Ray Adams, had worked for the federal Department of Agriculture growing crops for research.
For evidence, investigators pulled from along the driveway a few dozen castor bean plants that they believe were to be the raw material for the biological toxin ricin, which can be fatal if ingested even in small doses.
The plot began, court papers said, with a meeting at Mr. Thomas’ home. He asked the men if they were committed to the plan. Mr. Adams was. “I’d say the first ones that need to die is the ones in the government buildings,” he said.
Mr. Adams and Mr. Crump, who had once worked as an electrician, were allegedly trying to figure out how to turn beans into poison that they would fling from their car as they drove along interstates on the Eastern Seaboard and in Atlanta and New Orleans.
Researchers at the Southern Poverty Law Center who track the growing number of militia groups in the United States believe they are connected to the Georgia Militia.
The militia’s Web site has images of automatic weapons, links to Tea Party Web sites and conspiracy theories ranging from what “really” happened with Enron to who “the illuminati” are. The site lists Capt. Dan Roberts as the contact for the 440th Squad of the Georgia Militia.
According to the indictment, Mr. Thomas and Mr. Roberts attended a meeting in south Georgia on April 30. The same day, according to the law center, a group called the Southeast Constitutional Militia held a meeting in Valdosta, Ga., for like-minded groups from Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama.
Even though ricin is a naturally occurring poison, it is a highly-regulated substance. Federal law prohibits the production and possession of biological agents for use as a weapon. Ricin is a biological agent, as it is a naturally occurring substance capable of causing death.
Times beach was evacuates when the Dioxin level was so high that it caused cancers. It became a superfund site.