Saturday, April 28, 2007

Government cracks down on Alabama militia

Comments? Isn't it in the Constitution that all able-bodied men should be prepared to fight in a militia? I'll find that reference but in the mean time check this link

Militia raid targets weapons Explosives, ammo found; 6 men arrested
Friday, April 27, 2007
News staff writers

Simultaneous raids carried out in four Alabama counties Thursday turned up truckloads of explosives and weapons, including 130 grenades, an improvised rocket launcher and 2,500 rounds of ammunition belonging to the small, but mightily armed, Alabama Free Militia.

Six alleged members of the Free Militia also were arrested by federal authorities and are being held without bond.

Investigators said the DeKalb County-based group had not made any specific threats or devised any plots, but was targeted for swift dismantling because of its heavy firepower. The militia, which called itself the Naval Militia at one point, had enough armament to outfit a small army.

"We classify these groups as violent and anti-government," said Jim Cavanaugh, who supervises the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives operations in portions of the South. "They stockpile things and live off a fear, a paranoia they're going to need weapons and explosives because some event is going to happen when they will need them."

"Any time you have a self-appointed colonel or a self-appointed major and they've got weapons and explosives, it is a recipe for tragedy," Cavanaugh said.

The ATF investigation, launched about seven weeks ago, climaxed Thursday with more than 150 federal, state and local law enforcement officers carrying out raids in DeKalb, Marshall, Etowah and Jefferson counties beginning about 6 a.m.

The massive operation forced the closing of Collinsville High School on U.S. 11 because of traffic concerns. In Trussville, authorities rented a U-Haul truck to cart away the load of explosives and weapons from a house.

Agents encountered booby traps at one site. They found trip wires and two hand grenades rigged as booby traps at the Collinsville camper home of 46-year-old Raymond Dillard, who holds titles of both militia major and fugitive from justice on an unrelated federal case in Mobile.

"We were prepared," Cavanaugh said. "We suspect booby traps with these types of groups."

Arrested and detained in federal custody were Dillard, also known as Jeff Osborne, 46, of Collinsville; Adam Lynn Cunningham, 41, of Collinsville; Bonnell Hughes, 57, of Crossville; Randall Garrett Cole, 22, of Gadsden; James Ray McElroy, 20, of Collinsville; and Michael Wayne Bobo, 30, of Trussville.

All but Bobo are charged with conspiracy to make a firearm, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Bobo is charged with being a drug user in possession of a firearm, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The six men appeared Thursday afternoon in Birmingham's federal courthouse before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Armstrong Jr. The men were being held Thursday night in the Shelby County jail.

According to the criminal complaint, ATF and the Alabama State Fire Marshal's Office used a confidential informant to infiltrate the militia, using video and audio recordings to document their grenade-making exploits. The informant met Dillard at a DeKalb County flea market called "Trade Day" in the late fall and Dillard told him about the Free Militia.

The informant was eventually accepted into the organization and given the title "sergeant major." In the following weeks, the informant provided agents details of the group's activities.

In one instance, the complaint described how Dillard grabbed one of four grenades from a coffee table, quickly put a fuse and shotgun-type primer inside and said, "That's how easy it is. This one's ready to go."

Guns and ammo:

All six men were taken into custody without incident.

"We took them by surprise," said DeKalb County Sheriff Jimmy Harris.

Authorities wouldn't pinpoint a leader, but said Dillard called himself the major. In addition to the booby traps, authorities recovered a long gun and a pistol from his home.

Recovered from Cunningham's Collinsville home were stolen commercial fireworks, improvised hand grenades, fuse assemblies and a half-dozen guns. At Hughes' Crossville home, agents found 100 improvised hand grenades, 70 improvised hand grenades fired from the 37 mm rocket launch, a submachine gun and two silencers.

An SKS rifle was found at McElroy's home.

In Jefferson County, authorities said they had to rent a truck to handle the bomb-making material from Bobo's home, as well as 2,500 rounds of ammunition and 12 guns.

Bobo was living with his adoptive parents in the Lancshire Brentwood neighborhood in Trussville, a fairly new subdivision near the Cahaba Project with tree-lined streets and brick homes that cost upward of $600,000. He worked for his family's pest control company.

His red pickup truck, usually parked at the house, displays bumper stickers such as "Welcome to the South, Now Go Home," "The Second Amendment: `You do not know you need it until they come to take it away' - Thomas Jefferson" and "Work Harder, Millions on Welfare Depend on You."

Common profile:

In general, militias and patriot movements are anti-government and given to conspiracy theories and paranoia, said Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project for the Southern Poverty Law Center. The organization keeps track of hate groups and their activities throughout the country. They also are known for stockpiling illegal weapons and even manufacturing them, he said.

The militia movement in Alabama and the rest of the country hit a peak in the mid-1990s, as the groups rallied after the bloody 1993 siege at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, and the 1992 shoot-out in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, between former Green Beret Randy Weaver and federal agents. The number of militia or "patriot" groups in the United States dwindled from a high of almost 900 in the mid-1990s to fewer than 200 by 2005.

A combination of factors, including the Sept. 11 attacks, caused many groups to draw back from the extreme acts of Olympic Park bomber Eric Robert Rudolph or Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber.

"It became less popular for someone to rail against America," Cavanaugh said. "It's not so sexy for them to be around, and therefore they don't get a lot of public attention."

Cavanaugh said militia groups still pop up from time to time, and authorities' goal is to intercept them before the threat becomes a tragedy.

"Whatever their paranoia was, whatever their reasons were, we think we've taken their weapons, the majority of them, certainly," Cavanaugh said. "The good news is hopefully today Alabama is free of the Alabama Free Militia."

News staff writers Anita Debro and Lisa Osburn contributed to this report.


Any chance the govt will go after the gang banging illegal aliens? The numbers are much greater and the threat is much more real.
You got that right. This militia was only a threat in the minds of a borderline dictatorship government. They would much rather disarm citizens than go after MS-13 and illegal aliens. This just shows how skewed their priorities are. They must want anarchy and by jove they are gonna get exactly that.
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