By the CNN Wire Staff
Federal agents charged four Georgia men they say are part of a fringe militia group with plotting to attack government officials with explosives and the biotoxin ricin, prosecutors in Atlanta announced Tuesday.
A government informant recorded the men discussing plans to manufacture ricin, a highly poisonous substance derived from castor beans, and attack Justice Department officials, federal judges and Internal Revenue Service agents, according to court papers released Tuesday afternoon. All four suspects were in custody and are scheduled to make their initial court appearances Wednesday in Gainesville, about 50 miles north of Atlanta, the U.S. attorney's office announced.
"When it comes time to saving the Constitution, that means some people gotta die," an arrest affidavit quotes one of the defendants, 67-year-old Dan Roberts, as saying during one recorded conversation.
According to arrest affidavits filed in the case, Roberts and 73-year-old Frederick Thomas agreed to buy a silencer, a bomb and parts to convert a semi-automatic rifle to a fully automatic machine gun from an undercover agent. Meanwhile, 65-year-old Ray Adams and 68-year-old Samuel Crump worked to obtain castor beans and produce ricin, an FBI agent states in the documents.
"While many are focused on the threat posed by international violent extremists, this case demonstrates that we must also remain vigilant in protecting our country from citizens within our own borders who threaten our safety and security," U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in a written statement announcing the arrests.
The affidavits don't identify the "known militia organization" of which FBI agents say the men are a part. But according to the documents, they talked about spreading ricin across several cities at once, including Washington, Atlanta, New Orleans and Jacksonville, Florida. And during an April meeting at his home, Thomas told participants he had a "bucket list" of politicians, government officials, corporate leaders and media figures he said should be targeted to "make the country right again."
"I could shoot ATF and IRS all day long. All the judges and the DOJ and the attorneys and prosecutors," the affidavit quotes Thomas as saying.
Adams, Crump and Roberts are from Toccoa, about 90 miles north of Atlanta, while Thomas is from nearby Cleveland, Georgia, prosecutors said.