Official: Gun charges after FBI raids in Midwest
The Associated Press • March 28, 2010

ADRIAN, MICH. — The FBI said Sunday that agents conducted weekend raids in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio and arrested at least three people, and a militia leader in Michigan said the target of at least one of the raids was a Christian militia group.

Federal warrants were sealed, but a federal law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity said some of those arrested face gun charges and officials are pursuing other suspects.

FBI spokeswoman Sandra Berchtold said there had been activity in two southeast Michigan counties near the Ohio state line. She wouldn’t say whether they were tied to the raids in the other states.

FBI spokesman Scott Wilson in Cleveland said agents arrested two people Saturday after raids in two towns in Ohio. A third arrest was made in northeast Illinois on Sunday, a day after a raid took place just over the border in northwest Indiana.

Michael Lackomar, a spokesman for the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia, said one of his team leaders got a frantic phone call Saturday evening from members of Hutaree, a Christian militia group, who said their property in southwest Michigan was being raided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“They said they were under attack by the ATF and wanted a place to hide,” Lackomar said. “My team leader said, ‘no thanks.’ ”

The team leader was cooperating with the FBI on Sunday, Lackomar said. He said SMVM wasn’t affiliated with Hutaree, which states on its Web site to be “prepared to defend all those who belong to Christ and save those who aren’t.”

An e-mail sent to the group by The Associated Press wasn’t returned Sunday, and phone numbers for the group’s leadership were not immediately available. Berchtold, the FBI spokeswoman in Michigan, said she couldn’t confirm if the raids were connected to Hutaree.

Lackomar said none of the raids focused on his group. Lackomar said about eight to 10 members of Hutaree trained with SMVM twice in the past three years. SMVM holds monthly training sessions focusing on survival training and shooting practice, Lackomar said.
In Michigan, police swarmed a rural, wooded property around 7 p.m. Saturday outside Adrian, about 70 miles southwest of Detroit, said Evelyn Reitz, who lives about a half-mile away. She said several police cars, with lights flashing, were still there Sunday evening and 15 to 20 officers were stationed in the area.

One of the raids in Ohio occurred at Bayshore Estates, a trailer park in Sandusky, a small city on Lake Erie between Toledo and Cleveland, park manager Terry Mills said. Authorities blocked off the street for about an hour Saturday night, he said.

FBI agents in Ohio also made an arrest in Huron on Saturday night. No further information would be released until after they appeared in court Monday, he said.

FBI Conducts Raid in Midwest

Advertisements