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rosco 357

Mar 29, 2010 11:43 am US/Central
9 Militia Members Charged In Police-Killing Plot

Thomas Piatek, 46, of Whiting, Ind., was indicted by a federal grand jury in Detroit, along with eight others, on charges of conspiracy and attempted use of weapons of mass destruction, among other charges.

A joint-terrorism task force led by the FBI has arrested at least seven people with ties to the militia group Hutaree in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, the Detroit News reported Sunday.

Nine members of a militia group, including a northwest Indiana resident, have been indicted for allegedly planning to kill a law enforcement officer, then attack other officers attending the funeral with "weapons of mass destruction."

According to the five-count indictment unsealed Monday, the nine, part of a Lenawee County, Mich.,militia group called the Hutaree, conspired to oppose the U.S. government by force, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's office in Michigan.

The nine, including Thomas Piatek, 46, of Whiting, Ind., 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 possession of a firearm during a crime of violence.

The members allegedly view local, state and federal law enforcement as the "brotherhood" -- their enemy -- and have been preparing to engage them in "armed conflict."

The Hutaree planned to kill an unidentified law enforcement officer and then attack other officers who gathered for the funeral, the release said. According to the plan, the Hutaree would attack law enforcement vehicles during the funeral procession with"improvised explosive devices with explosive formed projectiles," which, according to the indictment, constitute weapons of mass destruction.

"It is believed by the Hutaree that this engagement would then serve as a catalyst for a more wide-spread uprising against the government," the indictment charges.

The indictment charges members of the group conspired "to levy war against the United States, (and) to oppose by force the authority of the government of the United States."

According to the indictment, David Brian Stone, the Hutaree leader, obtained information about the devices over the Internet and e-mailed diagrams to a person he believed capable of manufacturing the devices. He then had his son, Joshua Matthew Stone, and others gather materials to build the devices.

One raid was in Whiting, Ind. But the suspect wanted there, now identified as Piatek, wasn't found until early Sunday morning when he was arrested in Clarendon Hills, as CBS 2's Mike Puccinelli reports.

It was about 6 p.m. Saturday night when FBI agents swarmed the 1900 block of Calumet Avenue in Whiting, Ind., attempting to execute an arrest warrant.

They were there for the next two hours.

Witnesses caught in the middle of the action couldn't believe it.

"I seen these guys in green suits run towards that door. I guess they knocked it down," said Jorge Ponce.

Ponce was working in Gusto's Pizza parlor when the FBI and local law enforcers surrounded the house next door. The young pizza maker heard the commotion and decided to check it out.

"I went outside and a guy just started yelling get back inside. I turned around and there was a SWAT guy with his gun," said Ponce.

CBS 2 knocked on the door of Piatek's house Sunday but no one answered. A person who answered the phone at the address yelled no comment before hanging up.

The case "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," said Andrew Arena, head of the FBI's field office in Detroit.

On its Web site, Hutaree quotes several Bible passages and states: "We believe that one day, as prophecy says, there will be an Anti-Christ. ... Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves using the sword and stay alive using equipment." There's also a picture on the site of 17 camouflaged men, all holding large guns.

As of Monday morning, eight of the nine defendants were in custody and seven were making their initial appearance before U.S. Judge Donald A. Scheer in Detroit.

Joshua Stone is currently a fugitive and any person with information as to his whereabouts is asked to call the FBI at (313) 965-2323.

Also indicted were David Brian Stone, 45; his wife Tina Stone, 44; his son Joshua Matthew Stone, 21, of Clayton, Mich., and his other son David Brian Stone, Jr. 19, of Adrian, Mich.

David Brian Stone's ex-wife, Donna Stone, told The Associated Press before the arraignments that her former husband was to blame for pulling her son into the Hutaree movement. She said David Brian Stone legally adopted her son, David Brian Stone Jr., who is among those indicted. She said the marriage lasted about 10 years.

"It started out as a Christian thing," said Donna Stone, 44. "You go to church. You pray. You take care of your family. I think David started to take it a little too far. He dragged a lot of people with him."

Also charged are Joshua Clough, 28, of Blissfield, Mich.; Michael Meeks, 40, of Manchester, Mich.; Kristopher Sickles, 27, of Sandusky, Ohio and Jacob Ward, 33, of Huron, Ohio.

The case was investigated by the FBI and Michigan State Police.

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