Trucker with illicit tastes led FBI to Georgia militia plot
Federal agents stumbled on four Georgia militia members' plot to attack cities and government workers with guns, bombs and a deadly toxin as part of an investigation into a fifth man -- a trucker with an alleged interest in child pornography, survivalist strategies and cloak-and-dagger-style trick weaponry.
Details of the investigators' trail to the four militia members, who were arrested Nov. 1, emerged Tuesday at a federal detention hearing in Gainesville, Ga., in which they are hoping to be deemed eligible for bail. The proceedings were covered by Atlanta station WXIA-TV.
According to the station, the fifth man, Anthony Howard, was identified by a confidential informant -- in jail on child molestation and child pornography charges -- who contacted the FBI. He told them of "various criminal activities within a militia group," and also told them about Howard, a truck driver who, the informant said, was delivering weapons to militia groups.
Howard was put on a watch list and was arrested at the Canadian border. The FBI allegedly found computers with child pornography, a gun sewn into his shirt, and, the station reports, "a small derringer in his wallet that would allow him to shoot the gun by pulling his wallet."
An agent testified that the FBI also found a book called the "Poor Man's James Bond Book." According to its Amazon page, Volume 1 of the book, written by author Kurt Saxon, is a survivalist tome with a table of contents that includes chapters on fully automatic weapons, pyrotechnics and explosives, hand-to-hand combat, and a section titled "WE SHALL FIGHT IN THE STREETS."
It is unclear from the report what Howard was charged with, nor is it clear what happened to him from there. However, Howard allegedly attended a number of meetings of the "Covert Group," which allegedly included the men charged in the Georgia case.
This, the station reports, is how agents discovered the plan to kill government officials and spread the deadly toxin ricin in major American cities.
The hearing for the four men, who are currently in custody, is scheduled to continue Wednesday morning. Frederick Thomas, 73, and Dan Roberts, 67, are charged with conspiracy to obtain explosives and possessing an unregistered silencer. Ray Adams, 55, and Samuel Crump, 68, are charged with conspiring to manufacture a biological toxin.
All four men have pleaded not guilty.
-- Richard Fausset in Atlanta
Photo: A police officer looks on as a van carrying four men accused in a terror plot leaves a federal courtroom in Gainesville, Ga., on Wednesday. Credit: John Bazemore / Associated Press