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Three members of a right-wing militia have been sentenced to twelve years in prison for conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction in attacks against federal government agencies.
“In this case, anti-government ideology and rhetoric morphed into dangerous extremism and led these defendants to arm themselves and travel to a meeting to pick up pipe bombs and other explosives intended for attacks,” said U.S. Attorney John Horn of the Northern District of Georgia. “The attacks planned by the defendants, while rare, posed a serious threat to not only the safety of our public servants, but also all other members of the community.”
In January and February 2014 the three defendants participated in Internet chat rooms frequented by militia members and others with a shared anti-government ideology. During the chat room conversations they discussed starting a revolution against the federal government by conducting an attack aimed at the infrastructure supporting the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA).
According to their conversations, their goals included forcibly removing government officials who the defendants believed acted beyond the scope of the U.S. Constitution.
Unbeknownst to the defendants, another participant in the chat rooms became alarmed at their plans, informed the FBI of the attack against the government, and agreed to assist in this investigation.
On 15 February 2014, the defendants, armed with numerous firearms, went to meet with the cooperating witness at a location in Cartersville, Georgia, to pick up the pipe bombs and thermite devices. Prior to their arrival, the cooperating witness was provided with twelve inert pipe bombs and two inert thermite devices. The three defendants were arrested as they were taking possession of the items. The three defendants were convicted of the charges on 26 May 2015 after pleading guilty.