Federal prosecutors are outlining charges against six men they say hatched a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer as part of their plan to overthrow the government and establish a new regime. The Detroit News broke the news of the arrest and charges on Thursday morning, based on an FBI affidavit filed in federal court hours earlier.
The court filing also alleges the conspirators twice conducted surveillance at Whitmer’s vacation home and discussed kidnapping her to a remote location in Wisconsin to stand “trial” for treason prior to the Nov. 3 election.
“Several members talked about murdering ‘tyrants’ or ‘taking’ a sitting governor,” an FBI agent wrote in the affidavit. “The group decided they needed to increase their numbers and encouraged each other to talk to their neighbors and spread their message.”
The affidavit was filed hours after a team of FBI agents raided a Hartland Township home Wednesday and comes amid an ongoing investigation into the death of a Metro Detroit man killed during a shootout with FBI agents.
The Michigan home that was raided by the FBI is the residence of 24-year old Ty Garbin, who’s one of the six men named in the court filing.
According to the FBI affidavit, the men first popped up on law enforcement’s radar back in February, when they were alerted to social media posts discussing the “violent overthrow of several state governments.” Months later, the six men met with at least seven other individuals in Dublin, Ohio, but at least one of those in attendance was actually serving as an informant for the FBI, and recorded the meetings.
In an effort to recruit new members to their cause, the government alleges that one of the suspects named Alan Fox reached out to a Michigan-based militia, which was already under surveillance by law enforcement.
The FBI was already tracking the militia in March after a local police department learned members were trying to obtain addresses of local law-enforcement officers, the FBI agent wrote.
“At the time, the FBI interviewed a member of the militia group who was concerned about the group’s plans to target and kill police officers, and that person agreed to become a (confidential source),” the agent wrote.
In late June, Fox posted on Facebook a video in which he complained about the state’s judicial system and COVID-19 restrictions on gyms operating in Michigan.
“Fox referred to Governor Whitmer as ‘this tyrant b—-,’ and stated, ‘I don’t know, boys, we gotta do something,” according to the court affidavit. “You guys link with me on our other location system, give me some ideas of what we can do.”
Honestly, what were these guys thinking would happen if they carried out their plan to fruition? They’d kidnap the governor and hold some sort of mock trial charging her with treason, and then… what? Residents in Michigan would shrug their shoulders and say, “Well, I guess these guys are in charge now”?
While law enforcement officials describe the plot on the part of the six men as “elaborate,” it’s unclear how close the group was to attempting to carry out their plan. Officials say that Fox spoke in June about needing “200 men” to help storm the state capitol building before Election Day in order to take hostages, including Whitmer, but also discussed ways to kidnap or even kill the governor at her vacation residence. The affidavit also refers to several training sessions that the men allegedly conducted in August and September, all of which were monitored by either confidential sources or undercover agents.
It’s worth noting that while these self-proclaimed patriots were allegedly plotting to overthrow the state government in Michigan over Whitmer’s COVID-19 executive orders, a lawsuit challenging those same orders was making its way through the court system, and the state’s Supreme Court declared her mask mandate unconstitutional just a few days ago. It may very well be that one day the United States will have to face the real question of living under tyranny or fighting against it, but we certainly haven’t reached that point yet, and there are plenty of legal means to address unconstitutional power grabs without trying to kidnap politicians or kick off a civil war, starting with voting in November.