A Delaware man faces charges related to a plan by a half a dozen men to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
The six men charged included Barry Croft. Croft was identified in a criminal complaint as having a Delaware address. Delaware Online reported that Croft, 44, resides in Bear and is now in custody in the First State.
Jennifer Boone, special agent in charge at the FBI Field Office in Baltimore praised the work of the Delaware State Police in the case. If convicted the six could face life in prison.
Also named in the complaint were Michigan residents Adam Fox, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta.
The complaint indicated Croft traveled to the Midwest to discuss their plans.
Statement from FBI Baltimore Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone regarding the arrest of Barry Croft, an alleged co-conspirator in the plot to kidnap Michigan Governor, Gretchen Whitmer. pic.twitter.com/tSgCwi9q3J
— FBI Baltimore (@FBIBaltimore) October 8, 2020
Whitmer has been criticized by extremist groups and others for issuing emergency orders after the coronavirus pandemic took hold. Protests against the governor’s actions included gun-toting demonstrators that were identified by some as being members of militias.
The governor Thursday criticized President Trump for not disavowing extremists. Trump has been a critic of Whitmer for not reopening the state, The situation has been muddied by the Michigan Supreme Court ruling that Whitmer’s emergency declaration was not lawful.
Trump struck back by criticizing the governor for not praising him for the efforts of federal law enforcement in thwarting the kidnapping plot.
The FBI earlier launched an undercover operation to monitor the plot that according to the complaint involved kidnapping Whitmer at her vacation home or the governor’s summer home.
According to the complaint, the FBI became aware through social media that a group of individuals were discussing the violent overthrow of certain government and law-enforcement components.
A member of a Michigan militia was interviewed and expressed concern about the group’s plans to target and kill police officers. That person agreed to work undercover.
Among the individuals identified as being involved were Croft and Fox. Through electronic communications, Croft and Fox agreed to unite others in their cause and take violent action against multiple state governments that they believed were violating the U.S. Constitution.
An undercover operation was set up to monitor Whitmer’s and work was underway to secure explosives.
The complaint mentions a meeting in Ohio attended by Croft and surveillance of the governor’s home. ClickOn Detroit reported that plans called for Whitmer to taken to a location in Wisconsin and tried for treason.
The group took pains to encrypt communications, fearing that law enforcement would be making monitoring efforts. Explosives were also set off in preparation for a kidnapping and possible trial
The investigation is ongoing, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Western Michigan.
Agents of the Detroit Field Office of the FBI and other members of their Joint Terrorism Task Force, including the Michigan State Police, are conducting the investigation. FBI Agents and JTTF members in the Baltimore Field Office of the FBI, which covers Delaware, are also involved.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District ofMichigan is prosecuting the federal charges. U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the Eastern District of Michigan and Delaware have assisted.
Based on information developed in the investigation, State of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced the simultaneous arrest of seven other individuals on state charges of providing material support of terroristic activities and of possessing a firearm in the course of that offense.
See criminal complaint below: