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7 militia members charged with terrorism in plot to storm Michigan Capitol, start civil war

Six other men are facing federal charges in a scheme to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Attorney General announced that six men have been arraigned on state terrorism charges and a seventh is awaiting extradition to Michigan.

The alleged terrorists, who are all a part of a self-described militia, were charged after multiple search and arrest warrants were conducted Wednesday through an operation with the U.S. Attorneys of the Eastern and Western district of Michigan, the FBI and Michigan State Police. 

Attorney General Dana Nessel's office said 19 state felony charges were filed against the members of the militia group Wolverine Watchmen, or associates of Wolverine Watchmen. 

Federal charges were also filed against six other people in connection to a plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. 

The charges allege the suspects identified the addresses of law enforcement officers to target then, made threats of violence to instigate a civil war "leading to societal collapse" and engaged in a plan to attack the state Capitol building and kidnap officials, including the governor. 

Nessel issued charges against:

  • Paul Bellar, 21 of Milford. He was arrested in South Carolina on Wednesday and he is being extradited back to Michigan. He is charged with providing material support for terrorist attacks, which is a 20-year felony and/or a $20,000 fine, gang membership and felony firearm.
  • Shawn Fix, 38, of Bellville. He was arraigned Friday in Antrim County. Fix is charged with providing material support for terrorist attacks, which is a 20-year felony and/or a $20,000 fine, and felony firearm. Bond was set at $250,000. 
  • Eric Molitor, 36, of Cadillac. He was arraigned Thursday in Antrim County. Molitor is charged with providing material support for terrorist attacks, which is a 20-year felony and/or a $20,000 fine, and felony firearm. Bond was set at $250,000. 
  • Michael Null, 38, of Plainwell. He was arraigned Thursday in Antrim County on one count of providing material support for terrorist attacks, which is a 20-year felony and/or a $20,000 fine, and felony firearm. Bond was set at $250,000.
  • William Null, 38, of Shelbyville. He was arraigned Thursday in Antrim County on one count of providing material support for terrorist attacks, which is a 20-year felony and/or a $20,000 fine, and felony firearm. Bond was set at $250,000. 
  • Pete Musico, 42, of Munith. He was arraigned Thursday in Jackson County. Muscio was charged with one count of the threat of terrorism, a 20-year felony and/or $20,000 fine, one count of gang membership, a 20-year felony, one count of providing material support for terrorist acts and felony firearm.
  • Joseph Morrison, 26, of Munith. He was arraigned Thursday in Jackson County. Muscio was charged with one count of the threat of terrorism, a 20-year felony and/or $20,000 fine, one count of gang membership, a 20-year felony, one count of providing material support for terrorist acts and felony firearm.

A criminal complaint alleges that Musico and Morrison are the founding members of the Wolverine Watchmen, and they met periodically for "firearms training and tactical drills to prepare for the 'boogaloo,' a terms referencing a violent uprising against the government or impending politically-motivated civil war."

The group was connected to another group of men who were planning to kidnap the governor. It's alleged that Fix, both Null men and Molitor helped to surveil the governor's vacation home in preparing for this plot. 

On Friday, Whitmer emphasized that these men are not a "militia," but a "domestic terror organization."  

Meanwhile, five of the six people facing federal charges have detention and preliminary hearings set for Tuesday, Oct. 13 in Grand Rapids federal court.

A sixth man, 44-year-old Barry Croft, will appear in a federal courtroom in Delaware next week. Croft lives in Delaware.   

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