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US: 4 militia suspects arrested

02 November 2011, 18:58

Atlanta — Federal agents arrested four suspected members of a Georgia militia on charges of plotting attacks with toxins and explosives in Atlanta and against unnamed government officials.

The four, who were arrested on Tuesday, were expected to appear in federal court in Gainesville, Georgia, on Wednesday afternoon.

They were part of a group that also tried to obtain an unregistered explosive device and sought out the complex formula to produce ricin, a biological toxin that can be lethal in small doses, according to a federal complaint.

One suspect discussed ways of dispersing ricin from an airplane in the sky over Washington, court records state. Another suspected member of the group intended to use the plot of an online novel as a model for plans to attack U.S. federal law officers and others, authorities said.

Court documents state that 73-year-old Frederick Thomas told others he intended to model their actions on the online novel "Absolved," which involves small groups of citizens attacking U.S. officials.

The four listed in the indictment are Thomas; Dan Roberts, 67; Ray Adams, 65; and Samuel Crump, 68. The men live in the north Georgia towns of Cleveland and Toccoa.

At least two of the suspects are former federal employees, court records show.

Adams used to work as a lab technician for a U.S. Department of Agriculture agency known as the Agricultural Research Service.

Court documents say officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that another suspect, Crump, worked there in the past for a contractor that did maintenance at the Atlanta-based agency.

The group had been talking about "covert" operations since at least March, according to court records, discussing murder, theft and using toxic agents and assassinations to undermine the state and federal government.

At one meeting, investigators say, Thomas openly discussed creating a "bucket list" of government employees, politicians, corporate leaders and members of the media he felt needed to be "taken out."

"I've been to war, and I've taken life before, and I can do it again," he told an undercover investigator, according to the records.

Thomas' wife said that he spent 30 years in the U.S. Navy, thus  he would not do anything against his country, in a phone interview with The Associated Press.

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- AP


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