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Hutaree militia arrests point to tripling of militias since 2008

Federal authorities arrested nine members of the Hutaree militia, a fringe Christian group in Michigan, this weekend. The indictment alleges that the group was planning to kill law-enforcement officers as part of a plan to 'levy war' on the United States.

By Staff writer / March 29, 2010

Various objects litter the yard of David Brian Stone, the leader of Hutaree militia, on Monday in Clayton, Mich. The FBI raided the residence Sunday, part of raids that resulted in the arrest of nine members of the Christian militia, which federal authorities say was conspiring to kill police officers.

Madalyn Ruggiero/AP



The arrests of nine members of the Hutaree militia, a Midwestern Christian militia Hutargroup, are illustrating a rise in militia activity, which had been relatively quiet during the term of President George W. Bush but has shot up dramatically since the election of President Obama, experts that track militia groups say.

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The FBI conducted raids Saturday and Sunday in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and suburban Chicago to round up senior members of the group, which a federal indictment released Monday calls an “anti-government extremist organization” intending to “levy war against the United States.”

The group is charged with five counts, including seditious conspiracy and attempts to use weapons of mass destruction, which refers to the allegation in the indictment that Hutaree members planned to use roadside bombs. If convicted, the suspects could face life in prison, the maximum penalty for the weapons of mass destruction charge.

Who is David Brian Stone, leader of the Hutaree militia?

The Hutaree is one of 127 armed militias in the US, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a nonprofit organization in Montgomery, Ala., that tracks hate groups nationwide. That number has increased 200 percent since 2008, when there were 42, SPLC says.

There is “no question” the catalyst was President Obama’s election, says Heidi Beirich, the center’s director of research. A similar upswing took place after President Clinton’s election in 1993. Militias and the antigovernment groups that spawn them often become more active when the federal government turns more liberal.