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'Christian warrior' militia accused in plot to kill police

By the CNN Wire Staff
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'Christian warriors' arrested
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Militia leader's son arrested late Monday
  • Indictment says suspects plotted to kill Michigan law enforcement officer, attack funeral
  • Indictment unsealed charging nine people with seditious conspiracy
  • Eight of nine in custody; one is a fugitive, prosecutors say
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(CNN) -- Nine people federal prosecutors say belong to a "Christian warrior" militia were accused Monday of plotting to kill a Michigan law enforcement officer and then attack other police at the funeral.

Six Michigan residents, two residents of Ohio and an Indiana resident were indicted by a federal grand jury in Detroit, Michigan, on charges of seditious conspiracy, attempted use of weapons of mass destruction, teaching the use of explosive materials and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade and FBI Special Agent in Charge Andrew Arena announced.

All but one of the suspects -- Joshua Matthew Stone, the 21-year-old son of the militia's leader -- were in custody by Monday morning and seven of them made their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Donald A. Scheer, prosecutors said.

Joshua Stone was arrested late Monday after he walked out of a mobile home in southern Michigan's Hillsdale County and surrendered without incident, FBI spokeswoman Sandra Berchtold told CNN. Five other adults and a child were also at the home, she said.

"We were negotiating with him all days from a staging location near a church," Berchtold said, adding that authorities used a loudspeaker to draw Stone out.

Stone, who will be arraigned Tuesday morning, is the son of David Brian Stone -- leader of what prosecutors say is a Lenawee County "Christian warrior" militia group called the Hutaree.

Read the indictment (PDF)

The five-count indictment unsealed Monday charges that between August 2008 and the present, the defendants, acting as a Lenawee County, Michigan, militia group, conspired to use force to oppose the authority of the U.S. government.

Attorney General Eric Holder called it "an insidious plan by anti-government extremists."

The group says on its Web site that Hutaree means "Christian warrior" and proclaims on its home page, "Preparing for the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive."

Video: Militia aims at law enforcement

In the "About Us" section of the Hutaree Web site, the group says, "We believe that one day, as prophecy says, there will be an Anti-Christ. All Christians must know this and prepare, just as Christ commanded."

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit organization that monitors hate groups and other fringe organizations, lists the Hutaree as a "Patriot" group militia.

"Generally, Patriot groups define themselves as opposed to the 'New World Order,' engage in groundless conspiracy theorizing or advocate or adhere to extreme anti-government doctrines," the Southern Poverty Law Center said in a report, "Rage on the Right: The Year in Hate and Extremism."

The Law Center also defines Patriot groups as "militias and other organizations that see the federal government as part of a plot to impose 'one-world government' on liberty-loving Americans."

Mention of the Hutaree comes in the Law Center's list: "Active 'Patriot' Groups in the United States in 2009."

The suspects were identified as militia leader David Brian Stone, 45; his wife, Tina Stone, 44; his son, Joshua Matthew Stone, 21, of Clayton, Michigan; another son, David Brian Stone Jr., 19, of Adrian, Michigan; Joshua Clough, 28, of Blissfield, Michigan; Michael Meeks, 40, of Manchester, Michigan; Thomas Piatek, 46, of Whiting, Indiana; Kristopher Sickles, 27, of Sandusky, Ohio; and Jacob Ward, 33, of Huron, Ohio.

A bond hearing was set for 1 p.m. Wednesday.

A court-appointed counsel will be assigned to the seven suspects who were in court Monday because none of them had lawyers.

According to the indictment, Hutaree members view local, state and federal law enforcement authorities as the enemy and have been preparing to engage them in armed conflict.

The indictment alleges that the Hutaree planned to kill an unidentified law enforcement officer in Michigan and then attack officers and others who would gather for the funeral. According to the plan, the indictment says, the Hutaree wanted to use improvised explosive devices to attack law enforcement vehicles during the funeral procession. The indictment says those explosive devices, commonly called IEDs, constitute weapons of mass destruction.

Subsequently, the indictment says, Hutaree leader David Brian Stone obtained information about IEDs over the Internet and e-mailed diagrams to a person he believed could manufacture them. He then had one of his sons, Joshua Matthew Stone, and others gather materials necessary to manufacture IEDs, the indictment alleges.

According to the indictment, David Brian Stone and David Brian Stone Jr. taught other Hutaree members in June how to make and use explosive devices.

In addition, the grand jury charged all nine defendants with carrying or possessing a firearm during a crime of violence on at least one occasion.

"Because the Hutaree had planned a covert reconnaissance operation for April which had the potential of placing an unsuspecting member of the public at risk, the safety of the public and of the law enforcement community demanded intervention at this time," U.S. Attorney McQuade said.

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