Hartland Man At Center Of Whitmer Plot
October 9, 2020
By Jon King / firstname.lastname@example.org
A Hartland Township man arrested Wednesday by the FBI is at the center of a plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, put her on trial for treason and possibly kill her.
24-year-old Ty Garbin’s home in the Hartland Meadows manufactured home community was raided by an FBI team Wednesday evening, while he was reportedly taken into custody at another location. Garbin and five other men were charged by federal officials with conspiracy to commit kidnapping. According to the indictment, Garbin was a member of the militia group called the Wolverine Watchman, who planned to abduct Whitmer as she either arrived at, or was leaving, her personal vacation home or the governor’s official summer residence on Mackinac Island. Federal and state officials say the conspirators met during a Second Amendment rally at the Michigan Capitol in June.
Later that month, 15 people from multiple states reportedly held a meeting in Dublin, Ohio, near Columbus. Those present included an FBI confidential source who recorded the meetings. The source has been paid $8,600. “The group talked about creating a society that followed the U.S. Bill of Rights and where they could be self-sufficient,” the FBI agent wrote. “They discussed different ways of achieving this goal from peaceful endeavors to violent actions." The affidavit says several members talked about murdering “tyrants” or “taking” a sitting governor. "At one point, several members talked about state governments they believed were violating the U.S. Constitution, including the government of Michigan and Governor Gretchen Whitmer. It was at that meeting that the indictment says Garbin suggested "shooting up" Whitmer's vacation home in northern Michigan, later saying "he was 'cool' with going after the governor’s vacation home, however, even if it only resulted in destruction of property."
The affidavit says the group subsequently met for training on property Garbin owns in Luther, which is located in Lake County. It's alleged they conducted surveillance of the governor's vacation home near Elk Rapids on at least two occasions in late August and September. Authorities say Garbin, using emoticons in a text message, suggested demolishing a nearby bridge in order to slow up a response by police to the governor's home.
Officials say the conspirators later detonated an improvised explosive device during a "field exercise" at the Luther property made from a commercial firework wrapped in shrapnel "to test its anti-personnel effectiveness." They also examined an overpass near the governor's vacation home to try and determine the best spot to place it. Also charged by federal authorities were Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, and Brandon Caserta. All but Croft, who is a resident of Delaware, are from Michigan.
Authorities say that while they were at the Luther property, Fox said he had already surveilled the governor’s vacation home and chose Garbin and several others to return for nighttime surveillance on September 12th. The affidavit says the group planned to meet on October 7th, the day of the raid, to make payment on explosives and exchange tactical gear.
Garbin and the five others face up to life in prison if convicted on the various charges. Meanwhile, seven other men connected to a separate, but related plot to storm the Capitol building in Lansing, are facing state terrorism and weapons charges.