Timeline: How investigation into alleged Whitmer kidnapping plot unfolded

Published: Oct. 8, 2020 at 7:14 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - The state and federal investigation into a militia group allegedly plotting to kidnap or kill Gov. Gretchen Whitmer took several months, leading to 13 arrests this week.

Six men are facing federal charges and seven more are facing state charges for the plot, which involved organized surveillance of Whitmer’s northern Michigan summer home and an attempted $4,000 purchase of explosives.

The investigation began in March when a local police department contacted the FBI about militia members allegedly trying to obtain the home addresses of officers. The FBI then spoke with a member of the group who grew concerned with the alleged plot against Whitmer.

The FBI started paying attention to two militia members who are part of a Facebook group.

  • On June 6 -- court documents say those two people and about 13 others from several different states met in Dublin, Ohio. The FBI says they planned to create a self-sufficient society that followed the U.S. Bill of Rights.
  • Next -- they looked to add numbers to their group, connecting with a Michigan militia Facebook group. Several other meetings following in June, including one at a Second Amendment rally in Lansing.
  • Over the next three months -- the group met for tactical training exercises in the Jackson County town of Munith and in the Lake County town of Luther. That’s where they allegedly came up with their plants to attack a Michigan State Police facility and shoot up the Whitmer’s vacation home with the goal of kidnapping her.
  • In August and September -- court documents say the group conducted surveillance on the Whitmer’s vacation home twice and discussed blowing up a bridge nearby to prevent police from responding in a timely manner.
  • Later in September -- court documents say the group successfully created an improvised explosive device at another training session.
  • Sept. 12 -- the group almost carried out their plan, but one person wanted to wait.
  • Oct. 2 -- one of the six federal suspects bought an 800,000-volt Taser to use in the alleged kidnapping.
  • Wednesday -- Investigators served several search warrants around Michigan and rounded up the 13 suspects, who all were taken into custody. Several of them were arrested at a meeting on the east side of Michigan, where they allegedly were meeting to pool funds for explosives and exchange tactical gear.

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