Tag Archives: FBI

Members of Christian militia group charged with seditious conspiracy

By Calvin Palmer

Nine members of a Christian militia have been charged with plotting to kill police in Michigan and trying to wage war on the United States government.

After FBI raids in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, nine members of the militia called Hutaree have been charged with seditious conspiracy, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and teaching the use of explosive materials.

Those charged are militia leader David Brian Stone, 45; his wife, Tina Stone, 44; his sons Joshua Matthew Stone, 21 and David Brian Stone, Jr, 19; Joshua Clough, 28; Michael Meeks, 40; Thomas Piatek, 46; Kristopher Sickles, 27; and Jacob Ward, 33.

Prosecutors allege they were just days away from planning to kill a policeman and then launching an attack at his funeral with homemade bombs.

Court documents said the group would then retreat to one of several “rally points” to “wage war against the government and be prepared to defend in depth with trip-wired and command-detonated anti-personnel improvised explosive devices, ambushes and prepared fighting positions”.

Prosecutors said Hutaree considered police officers to be “foot soldiers” of the US government and counted among their enemies anyone who did not share their beliefs or was participating in the “new world order”.

The Hutaree website says it is “preparing for the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive”.

“The indictment unsealed today outlines an insidious plan by anti-government extremists to murder a law enforcement officer in order to lure police from across the nation to the funeral where they would be attacked with explosive devices,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

“Thankfully, this alleged plot has been thwarted and a severe blow has been dealt to an dangerous organization that today stands accused of conspiring to levy war against the United States.”

The group’s logo is a cross with the initials CCR, which stand for Colonial Christian Republic and its name means “Christian warrior.”

A video posted on the website depicts a group of heavily armed men in military gear replacing a burning United Nations flag with their flag after pretending to kill soldiers wearing blue helmets.

The group also warns of the coming of the Anti-Christ and the “Beast” and cites Biblical passages to prove that “Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves.”

“This is an example of radical and extremist fringe groups which can be found throughout our society,” Andrew Arena, special agent in charge of the Detroit office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said in a statement.

“The FBI takes such extremist groups seriously, especially those who would target innocent citizens and the law enforcement officers who protect the citizens of the United States.”

According to the southern Poverty Law Centre, which monitors such groups, the number of active “Patriot” groups – of which militias form a paramilitary wing – increased from 149 in 2008 to 512 in 2009.

The accused face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

[Based on reports by AFP and ABC News.]

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FBI investigates bomb-threat link on flights between Boston and Miami

By Calvin Palmer

The FBI is investigating whether two bomb threats on flights between Miami and Boston are linked.

Yesterday, a flight attendant found the words “bomb on board, Boston-Miami” scrawled on a bathroom cabinet.

The American Airlines flight was delayed for three hours while the plane was searched. No bomb was found.

A Boston-bound flight on the same route had to turn back 40 minutes after takeoff,  on September 17, after a flight attendant found a threatening note in a bathroom. The note used the word “bomb” and said explosives might be on board, the FBI said.

The flight returned to Miami International Airport where it was searched and bags were re-screened after 168 passengers and six crew members safely disembarked. Nothing turned up in the search

“We’re obviously going to compare notes with Boston to see if there are any similarities with the incidents since they were on the same route,” said FBI Special Agent Judy Orihuela.

[Based on reports by the Associated Press and Boston Herald.]

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Blood-stained clothing found where missing Yale student worked

By Calvin Palmer

Blood-marked clothes have been found above a ceiling tile in the building where a 24-year-old Yale student, missing since Tuesday, was last seen, a police source said yesterday.

The body of doctoral student Annie Le has not been found and the search continues.

Kim Mertz of the FBI said that items that might be evidence have been collected from the research building in the Yale Medical School complex where Le worked.

“We don’t know if they could be associated with Annie Le,” Mertz said. “We have not identified anyone as a person of interest.

“We’re not in a position today to say whether this is a missing person case or whether criminality is involved.”

Le was seen entering the building at about 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning on CCTV footage but she was not seen leaving the building. Her purse, cell phone, credit cards and money were found in her office in the lab building.

Investigators have continued to study CCTV footage from 75 cameras that monitor the area.

“I do not know that it’s definitive that she has left the building at this point,” Mertz said.

Yale University has posted a $10,000 reward for information leading to Le’s whereabouts. She is described as being of Asian descent, 4 feet 11 inches tall and 90 pounds, with brown shoulder-length hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a knee-length brown skirt, brown shoes and a green t-shirt.

Le, originally from Placerville, California, was to have been married on Sunday at the North Ritz Club in Syosset, New York. Workers at the club said the wedding was canceled on Friday.

Police said her fiancé, Jonathan Widawsky, a graduate student at Columbia University in New York City, is not a suspect and is assisting with the investigation.

[Based on reports by The Hartford Courant and Associated Press.] 

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Suspect in Tiller killing has possible links to Montana Freemen group

By Calvin Palmer

Authorities will not confirm whether the man suspected of killing abortion doctor George Tiller was a member of the anti-government Montana Freemen group that kept the FBI at bay for almost three months over a decade ago.

Scott Roeder, was taken into custody some 170 miles away in a Kansas City suburb about three hours after the fatal shooting of 67-year-old abortion rights advocate Tiller during morning services at the Reformation Lutheran Church in east Wichita, Kansas, yesterday.

Roeder is being held in jail while Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston uses the 48 hours at her disposal before filing charges.

In 1996, a 38-year-old man named Scott Roeder was charged in Topeka with criminal use of explosives for having bomb components in his car trunk and sentenced to 24 months of probation. However, his conviction was overturned on appeal the next year after a higher court said evidence against Roeder was seized by law enforcement officers during an illegal search of his car.

At the time, police said the FBI had identified Roeder as a member of the anti-government Montana Freemen group, an organization that kept the FBI at bay in Jordan, Montana, for almost three months in 1995-96.

Authorities last night would not immediately confirm if their suspect was the same man.

Morris Wilson, a commander of the Kansas Unorganized Citizens Militia in the mid-1990s, told The Kansas City Star he knew Roeder fairly well.

“I’d say he’s a good ol’ boy, except he was just so fanatic about abortion,” Wilson said. “He was always talking about how awful abortion was. But a lot of people think abortion is awful.”

A man identifying himself as Scott Roeder posted on the Web site of the militant anti-abortion group Operation Rescue in 2007, asking if anyone had thought of attending Tiller’s church to ask the doctor and other worshippers about his work. “Doesn’t seem like it would hurt anything but bring more attention to Tiller,” the post said.

Operation Rescue condemned Tiller’s killing as “a cowardly act”. The group’s president, Troy Newman, said Roeder “has never been a member, contributor or volunteer”. He conceded Roeder may have posted to the organization’s open Internet blog but so have thousands of non-members.

But Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry called Tiller “a mass murderer”.

“He was an evil man — his hands were covered with blood,” said Terry.

The last killing of an abortion doctor occurred in October 1998 when Dr. Barnett Slepian was fatally shot in his home in a suburb of Buffalo, New York. A militant abortion opponent was convicted of the murder.

[Based on a report by newsday.com.]

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FBI raids Parente’s Manhattan office

By Calvin Palmer

The FBI raided the Manhattan office of tax attorney William Parente yesterday as part of an investigation into his investment business.

Agents removed about 40 boxes of files and a computer hard drive from the Lexington Avenue office, said spokesman for the FBI’s Manhattan field office James Margolin.

An FBI source said agents have spoken to at least a dozen investors who had given Parente about $20 million during the past 20 years.

Investors have said Parente used the money to make high-interest commercial bridge loans.

One investor, who wished to remain anonymouts, said Parente had been vague about where the money was being invested.

“No one questioned him, because everyone knew him,” the investor said. “I don’t understand where the money could have gone.”

When investors asked for their money back after the Madoff scam was revealed in December, Parente at first balked and then later issued checks that bounced just after, police say, he killed his family and himself.

Parente, 59, beat and asphyxiated his wife, Betty, 58, and two daughters, Catherine 11, and Stephanie, 19, before killing himself with a knife in a room at the Sheraton Baltimore North Hotel, in Towson, Maryland, on April 20.

Police have not announced a motive for the killings and federal authorities have yet to discover whether there was any financial impropriety.

[Based on a report by newsday.com.]

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Suspect in Georgia shooting has his passport and air ticket to Amsterdam

By Calvin Palmer

The FBI confirmed today that the University of Georgia professor suspected of killing his wife and two other men outside a community theater has his passport and a plane ticket to fly to Amsterdam later this week.

A nationwide alert for 57-year-old marketing professor George Zinkhan was issued following Saturday’s shooting in Athens.

Authorities today said they found Zinkhan’s passport wallet, but the passport is missing.

FBI Special Agent Gregory McClendon, in a federal court affidavit, said Delta Airlines has confirmed Zinkhan has a ticket to Amsterdam for May 2.

“He may change the date and attempt to leave early,” McClendon said.

The affidavit did not say when the ticket was purchased.

Zinkhan has a house in Amsterdam, where he also teaches at the Vrije Universiteit for about six weeks each year.

McClendon also said authorities have searched Zinkhan’s house and office. He has not contacted family, friends or students and his passport is missing.

“No one can account for Zinkhan’s whereabouts,” he said.

The shooting happened midday Saturday during a reunion picnic for a local theater group outside the Athens Community Theater.

The victims — Zinkhan’s wife Marie Bruce, 47; Tom Tanner, 40; and Ben Teague, 63 — were members of Town & Gown Players, which was staging a performance of Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure at the theater. Two others were hurt by bullet fragments.

Authorities still do not know the motive for the shootings.

The University of Georgia today announced that Zinkhan had been fired from his teaching position.

University officials do not believe he is still in the area but had patrols armed with assault rifles on campus as a precaution.

[Based on a report by the Associated Press.]

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Investors claim to have lost millions to William Parente

By Calvin Palmer

Details emerged today of alleged serious financial problems facing a New York tax attorney police say killed his wife, two daughters and then himself in a Maryland hotel room.

Attorney Steven B. Drelich said that at least three people have called his office to say they lost about $4 million to William Parente, who was found dead on Monday in a hotel room at the Sheraton Baltimore North Hotel, in Towson, along with his family.

“We’ve been contacted by others who have lost millions of dollars,” Drelich said. “What he did to his family is unforgivable. The face of evil can be pretty ordinary.”

Drelich’s partner, Bruce Montague, told authorities on Tuesday that he lost at least $450,000 to Parente.

The FBI is investigating the losses.

Police said Parente did not leave any notes that might show he was driven by investment business troubles, and detectives say they do not have a motive for the killings.

“We have not reached that determination and we may never reach that determination,” Baltimore County police spokesman Cpl Mike Hill said.

Parente, 59, of Garden City, New York, killed his wife, Betty Parente, 58, and their daughters, 19-year-old Stephanie and 11-year-old Catherine, then himself.

Their bodies were discovered in a room on the 10th floor of the hotel. The couple and their younger daughter were in Maryland to visit Stephanie, a sophomore at Loyola College in Baltimore.

One of Stephanie’s friends told The Baltimore Sun that Stephanie was surprised by her family’s visit because they were already scheduled to come see her this Friday.

“None of it made sense,” said 19-year-old Gabrielle Paige. “They just called her and said they were here in Baltimore. It seemed like they decided on a whim to come out here.”

[Based on a report by the Associated Press.]

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