Seven Michigan men were arrested on Thursday over their alleged involvement in a right-wing plot to target the government and kidnap the state's Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
The men, who called themselves the "Wolverine Watchmen," were charged in addition to six other men in connection to the conspiracy.
Plans to Overthrow the Government, Incite Civil War
According to prosecutors, the militia group planned a violent attack on Michigan's government and sought to incite a civil war this summer, with plans to kidnap elected officials.
The "Wolverine Watchmen" allegedly talked about creating a "self-sufficient" society, according to the criminal complaint. During a gathering in Dublin, Ohio, several members discussed both peaceful and violent means of achieving this goal, including murdering "tyrants" and "taking" a sitting governor.
Members also discussed state governments they believed were violating the U.S. Constitution, including Michigan and Gov. Whitmer. They were allegedly frustrated with Whitmer's actions to contain the spread of COVID-19, in particular, the closing down of businesses.
In March, some of the members of the militia group even tried to obtain the addresses of local law enforcement officers and even had plans to target and kill police officers, according to the affidavit.
A Group 'Committed to Violence'
In the arraignment, Michigan Assistant Attorney General Gregory Townsend called defendants Joseph Morrison and Pete Musico "founding members" of the Wolverine Watchmen, which he described as a group "committed to violence" against the government and politicians.
Morrison allegedly used his property in Munith, Michigan as a training ground for members, who participated in the same activity alleged against the federal defendants, including plotting to bomb bridges and surveilling Whitmer's residence. "There are multiple members of the Wolverine Watchmen," Townsend said. "Mr. Morrison was considered the commander."
Neighbors of the property, which has a Confederate and "Original 13" flag on display, told the Daily Beast that they have often heard shooting coming from the property and noted large groups descending upon the address on weekends, when "bullets would be flying off their property in all directions."