Two of the four men accused of involvement in a plot to attack U.S. government buildings and other locations using materials such as the toxin ricin entered guilty pleas on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported (see GSN, Nov. 17, 2011).
Dan Roberts, 67, and Frederick Thomas, 73, acknowledged in federal court in Gainesville, Ga., attempting to purchase bomb materials and a prohibited firearm silencer. The two men could each be sentenced at maximum to five years imprisonment and ordered to pay $250,000.
Alleged cohorts Samuel Crump, 68, and Ray Adams, 55, are accused of trying to produce ricin, a toxin derived from castor beans that is lethal in trace amounts and has no known antidote
The four Georgia men were apprehended in November following a lengthy FBI investigation that involved a secret government informant who recorded the mens' conversations. They purportedly discussed eliminating certain and government personnel and disseminating ricin from a speeding vehicle traveling through major U.S. metropolitan areas, among other ideas.
Federal prosecutor Sally Yates said men formed a "fringe militia group."
"This case demonstrates that we must remain vigilant in protecting our country from citizens within our own borders who threaten our safety and security," the U.S. attorney said.
Michael Trost, defense attorney for Roberts, questioned government efforts to depict the men as terrorists.
"If the government really thought these guys were terrorists would they really let them plead guilty to charges that carry a maximum of five years?" he said, continuing, "These grumpy old men are talking trash. There was never any intention of carrying it out."
Crump and Adams were allegedly most closely involved in the ricin scheme. Adams reportedly had the ability to produce the deadly poison due to his background as an ex-technician in a government laboratory and Crump purportedly committed to memory instructions for producing the toxin (Greg Bluestein, Associated Press/Google News, April 10).
Two of the four men accused of involvement in a plot to attack U.S. government buildings and other locations using materials such as the toxin ricin entered guilty pleas on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.