LANSING, Mich. – Some of the Michigan men charged after a conspiracy to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer have links to the national “boogaloo” anti-government movement, NBC News found.
State and federal officials issued charges against 13 people Thursday after the FBI uncovered a conspiracy to kidnap Whitmer from her vacation home, hold her hostage and overthrow the Michigan government.
According to the criminal complaint, six of the men were specifically involved in the kidnapping conspiracy, including months of scheming, experimenting with homemade explosives, surveilling the vacation home and inspecting a bridge with intent to destroy it.
NBC News looked into the six men directly charged with conspiring to kidnap Whitmer -- Adam Fox, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, Brandon Caserta and Barry Croft.
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NBC News found that, “Several of the men charged (with conspiring to kidnap Whitmer) have histories of anti-government organizing, as well as interest in countering what they saw as an ‘uprising’ against President Donald Trump, according to their online profiles and comments.”
Federal officials also said the seven men tied to the Wolverine Watchmen militia group -- Paul Bellar, Shawn Fix, Eric Molitor, Michael Null, William Null, Pete Musico and Joseph Morrison -- support the “boogaloo” movement.
This movement is dedicated to “eradicating the government and killing law enforcement officers,” according to NBC News. Members of the movement have attacked and killed police officers in recent months, “often in attempts to ignite what they believe will be a second civil war,” NBC News said.
When NBC News dove deeper into the online profiles of the Michigan kidnapping suspects, there were ties to the boogaloo movement and swift radicalization.
Croft was seen wearing the insignia of the Three Percenters, an armed anti-government movement, among other online warning signs, according to NBC News.
Caserta’s social media timelines shows a rapid radicalization path, including a 30-minute YouTube video in which he declared “the enemy is government,” NBC News found.
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Fox had his profile picture as a skull and crossbones with a Three Percenters label and the phrase, “Liberty or Death,” NBC News said.
Others in the group facing charges had anti-government memes and posts on social media before they were deleted, according to NBC News.