Robert Curtis Doyle and Ronald Beasley Chaney III were arrested Sunday as part of an undercover FBI operation in which an agent posed as an illegal arms dealer selling weapons and explosives to the two Virginia men, the FBI said in documents filed in federal court in Virginia.
Doyle and Chaney wanted to rob businessmen, such as a jeweler and a gun store owner, to prepare for a so-called race war, according to a law enforcement official.
The men wanted to use the proceeds to stockpile weapons and begin paramilitary training, the official said. They allegedly planned on bombing or shooting members of black churches and Jewish synagogues, but the official said: "They were a long way from actually pulling off an attack."
A third man, Charles Daniel Halderman, was also arrested on accusations that he was going to help Doyle and Chaney in robbing and killing a silver-jewelry dealer as part of their extremist beliefs, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court.
Attorneys for the three men couldn't be immediately reached for comment late Tuesday.
The FBI received information in September that Doyle was going to hold a meeting at his Chesterfield County home with other people "to discuss acting out in furtherance of their extremist beliefs by shooting or bombing the occupants of black churches and Jewish synagogues, conducting acts of violence against persons of the Jewish faith and doing harm to a gun store owner in the state of Oklahoma," court papers said. Chesterfield County is southwest of downtown Richmond.
FBI surveillance confirmed that a gathering of people occurred September 27 at Doyle's home and that Chaney's vehicle was present, court papers said.
Later, Doyle and Chaney allegedly met with the undercover FBI agent in late October, the FBI said in court documents.
At that October meeting, Doyle joined the undercover FBI agent in a separate vehicle where Doyle allegedly looked at silencers and placed an order for automatic weapons, explosives and a pistol with a silencer, to be delivered and purchased on November 8, which was last Sunday, court papers said.
It was at the Sunday meeting that the FBI arrested Chaney after he allegedly exchanged an disclosed amount of money for two firearms, silencers and explosives. Doyle was arrested later in the day, court documents said.
The FBI also found 30 rounds of .45 caliber ammunition from a black backpack in the rear seat of a Doyle's Toyota Tundra at his home, court papers said. One of the firearms allegedly ordered by Doyle was a .45 caliber pistol with a silence, authorities said in documents.
Doyle and Chaney are scheduled to appear in federal court in Richmond on Thursday, and Halderman is scheduled for Friday, according to court records.
Doyle, a previously convicted felon, has seven felon convictions including for offenses such as possession and distribution of a controlled substances, embezzlement, and grand larceny, court papers said.
Chaney has also been convicted of violent and other felonies, court documents said.
Halderman also has 17 felony convictions, the FBI said in court papers, without specifying the nature of the crimes.