Suspected Michigan militia leader to argue in Governor Whitmer’s kidnapping plot, records show
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – One of six federal defendants charged with conspiring to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer has a plea hearing scheduled for next week.
Ty Garbin, 24, an alleged leader of Michigan-based militia Wolverine Watchmen, has a plea hearing scheduled for Jan. 27 before U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker in Grand Rapids, according to court documents.
Details of any plea deal were not on the court records.
Garbin, who lives in Hartland Township of Livingston County, has been charged with a federal kidnapping conspiracy charge along with Brandon Caserta, 33, of Canton, Barry Croft Jr., 44, of Bear, Delaware, Adam Fox, 37, of Wyoming, Kaleb Franks, 26, of Waterford, and Daniel Harris, 23, of Lake Orion.
The six defendants are due to appear before a jury on March 23. All are imprisoned without bail.
They are among 14 men accused in federal or state court of plotting to kidnap Whitmer because they were upset by the coronavirus restrictions.
Police alleged that some of the men gathered in at least two field training exercises, one in Wisconsin and the other in Michigan, as part of the planning. They also monitored Whitmer’s vacation home in northern Michigan.
Assistant US Attorney Nils Kessler wrote in court documents that the defendants planned a “violent plot to kidnap the governor of Michigan” last year.
The government said in court records that Garbin suggested the co-conspirators shoot Whitmer’s vacation home, even though it only resulted in property damage.
Garbin in June met Fox and others in Fox’s Wyoming employer’s basement. He attended a tactical training exercise in Munith and participated in gun handling training and combat drills in Wisconsin, according to records.
Garbin and others tried to make improvised explosive devices in Wisconsin, the government said.
Some of the suspects in the kidnapping plot had kept Whitmer’s vacation home overnight, according to testimony.
The suspects kept in touch through encrypted messaging. They were unaware that the FBI had infiltrated the group and also had informants inside, who provided real-time information to investigators.
Fox, the man from Wyoming, ordered $ 4,000 worth of explosives from an undercover FBI agent posing as a co-conspirator. In October, Fox purchased a “Taser-type high voltage stunning device.”
The kidnapping plot is punishable by up to life imprisonment if convicted.
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