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Posted on Thu, Apr 1, 2010 : 10:15 p.m.

ATF records check triggered Hutaree anger, email shows

By Lee Higgins


Federal agents raided sites in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio over the weekend.

Madalyn Ruggiero | The Associated Press

A message sent 16 months ago from a Hutaree email address called upon militia members to fight the ATF - the same day the bureau's agents say they conducted a routine gun check in Lenawee County.

That email, obtained by, was sent on Dec. 8, 2008 after two ATF inspectors conducted a records check at the business of a federal firearms licensee.

The gun check kicked off the federal investigation into Hutaree, a Christian-oriented militia group prosecutors say is an anti-government extremist organization. Among other allegations, the nine members under indictment are accused of plotting to kill law enforcement officers and wage war in Washtenaw County.

The December 2008 email was read in federal court Wednesday, and prosecutors say it was sent by Hutaree leader David Brian Stone.

The email had the subject heading, "“FLASH,,FLASH,,ATF enforcers," and was sent to about 50 recipients, the email shows.

“OK,,here we go,,looks like the ATF enforcers are looking for a reason to start a firefight,,and WE WILL answer the call,,ALL Hutaree members, contact me immediatly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

ATF Special Agent Donald Dawkins, a bureau spokesman in Detroit, said the email was apparently in response to the records check. Dawkins declined to identify the business that was inspected, citing the ongoing investigation.

Dawkins said it's been alleged there may be a link between the licensee and Stone. He called it a routine ATF inspection, with no search warrants, no arrests warrants, and no agents backing inspectors up.

"We were out in the area doing checks, gun checks," he said. “There was no aggression shown. Nothing from ATF.”

The son of the gun dealer was arrested about a month after the records check, prosecutors said in court Wednesday. Hutaree members made an offer to break him out of jail, but it was declined, prosecutors alleged.

According to Dawkins, other law enforcement agencies were notified about the threats contained in the Dec. 8, 2008 email. He did not know whether the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department was among them.

The email address the threat was sent from is the same one used to send an email requesting a media interview on Feb. 23, 2010. The email address was obtained off the Hutaree Web site.

At the time, was researching a story about how a Bridgewater Township official twiced contacted local militia members for help this year to search for missing township residents. Hutaree had at least one member present at both of the searches. 

The emailed threat showed Hutaree was not a stable group, said Michael Lackomar, a spokesman for the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia who received the email.

“We knew at the time that they were jumpy,” said Lackomar. “We knew they seemed to be posturing themselves for a fight. The punctuation of the email struck me as a little odd. It struck me as someone who was being more emotional than logical.”

Asked why he was on Hutaree’s email list, Lackomar said his group trained with Hutaree in the past. He once emailed Hutaree to thank members for training with his group, he said. 

Lackomar said he thought Hutaree was taking it too far.

“It told me that they had an alarmist attitude,” he said. “That they overreacted in this situation and pretty much any alerts or requests they made should be dismissed as paranoid.”

Ronald Gaydosh, the former commander of the Michigan Militia Corps Wolverines, was among those listed as a recipient of the email. Gaydosh, who has known Stone for 15 years, doesn't recall seeing the email, but wouldn't have thought much of it, he said.

"He was just shooting his mouth off," Gaydosh said. "I just don't think most people would take it seriously...He thought maybe they were coming after them and he wanted to notify everybody."

Prosecutors also discussed a message in court Wednesday they say was posted the day of the records check on a militia discussion board by defendant Joshua Clough, who also is known as "Azuurlin."

"ATF agents were at our local FFL today looking for all paperwork specifically relating to our commander," the message says. "We have and will return fire, the question is, will you?"

Dawkins, the ATF agent, said it's not uncommon for people to make threats to the agency because it investigates violent criminals.

"We just put it in our memory bank," he said. "We're not trying to violate anyone's rights. We're out there carrying on our business."

Lee Higgins is a reporter for He can be reached by email at or by phone at (734) 623-2527.


Me Next

Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 11:50 a.m.

More opinion & hearsay & still no beef. I must report I will not be played, I want the truth. These people are suffering loss of rights & it is taking their money - why? What justification. This "Group" is made of individuals - truth. None used "lethal" force against anyone; not the ATF that "COULD" be misused to disarm citizens, not against law officials that "captured & contained" without justification that I've seen- just a warrant as was their duty, not "mass murder" of the innocent. Apparently they didn't believe it was the anti-christ attack so the accusation of 'religious lunatics' is shot down. Nothing here to prove the plant was not the one that brought in the ability to "learn how to make explosives". More bragging of a young rooster that did not violently resist arrest. I was an adult & a congresswoman's young teen daughter had on her own learned how to mix chemicals in our College Class to bring down the building. She was obviously proud of her knowledge. No one there was interested in doing that. She should have been captured & contained? That was decades ago. I have a fish his name is Spot. Most dogs are named Spot, therefore my fish is really a dog. That's the kind of logic the public is presented with. We don't get to dictate what other citizens say. I believe that the plant was not helping law honestly. Seems to me someone needed an "incident" at this time for public support & to continue the real agenda to usurp more power & disarm free people. Apparently the young rooster wasn't co-operating fast enough. Sorry, but that's how it adds up from all I know. I'm not trying to cause a stampede. "Their words" didn't. I'm not even a gun person but I have that right should the need be evident. Each one of us have separate but common rights by Law. The burden is on gov. & with evidence I believe a majority would support. This is not the case thus far with this. Gov. misuse (as I read it)concerns me very much. I want the USA to remain Free & strong as long as GOD wills. Call me a religious nut - I don't care. I know my GOD & I know me & I won't be played. Check me out- I'm boring. My fish is a fish named Spot & I'll keep saying the truth. I don't appreciate dictates or spin. Honest reporting - which the reporter here did in my opinion - thanks. I'll listen to opinions but I'll think for myself.


Fri, Apr 2, 2010 : 7:51 a.m.

While there are significant differences between this group and the terrorist group known as the Weathermen Underground Organization, there are some similarities. Remember Bill Ayers and his wife B. Dohn? There is a good article in last month's Ann Arbor Observer about Ayers, his mindset, and how a young woman, influenced by Ayers, eventually lost her life building an explosive device.


Fri, Apr 2, 2010 : 7:45 a.m.

Townie- The crime of seditious conspiracy is committed when two or more persons in any state or U.S. territory conspire to levy war against the U.S. government. A person commits the crime of advocating the violent overthrow of the federal government when she willfully advocates or teaches the overthrow of the government by force, publishes material that advocates the overthrow of the government by force, or organizes persons to overthrow the government by force. Remember the warning from Ari Fleischer, "Watch what you say." Isn't it funny how that stuff comes around to bite the other "side"?


Fri, Apr 2, 2010 : 4:37 a.m.

David Briegel your sounding alot like the Rev. Wright with your comments. These people are unstable, and to group them with anybody else is just wrong. Your anger towards the right could be compared with, oh say the Hutaree's anger towards the gov't.


Thu, Apr 1, 2010 : 10:25 p.m.

@KJMCLark: Yeah, I read all that, but again the operative word is "talked." Saying they "worked" to turn streets signs into shrapnel doesn't say they actually had any explosive material or that they succeeded in producing any of these devices. I'm just wondering if law enforcement has actually recovered some explosive material or devices as evidence and haven't revealed it to the public yet, or if this whole case is based on a lot of talk and fear. My hope is that if these folks are as dangerous as the stories make it seem, that the FBI/ATF has more to go on than what I've read so far.


Thu, Apr 1, 2010 : 8:51 p.m.

Townie, I think the WMD are the IEDs the Hutaree were supposedly building. In the article from today titled "Prosecutors say Hutaree militia...", there's this quote from the prosecutor: "They often talked about building explosive devices, including some that would explode upwards until they were about waist high and then explode again, sending shrapnel 360 degrees, killing as many people as possible. They also worked to turn street signs into explosive projectile devices capable of penetrating armored vehicles, Waterstreet alleged."


Thu, Apr 1, 2010 : 6:01 p.m.

So far, we're hearing about a lot of guns, bullets, and angry talk, but where's the WMD? I sure hope they find something more substantial to stick on these guys. You think they were mad at the government before...


Thu, Apr 1, 2010 : 5:55 p.m.

I'd like to know more about the association between Hutaree and The "Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia". The SMVM spokesman already admitted that the two groups had "trained" together. Trained for what? Also, when the SMVM finally figured out that Hutaree was a dangerous organization, what steps did the SMVM take to alert the federal authorities of the threat of violence? Did the SMVM take ANY steps to alert the federal authorities? Also, did they take steps to disassociate themselves from Hutaree such as ending communications, ending "training" sessions, forbidding their own members from associating with Hutaree members? Also, if SMVM did take steps to disassociate themselves from Hutaree, knowing that the group was dangerous, would failing to notify law enforcement of their concerns be considered negligence or even part of a conspiracy to protect the actions of other militia groups?


Thu, Apr 1, 2010 : 4:12 p.m.

Dwight, my thoughts are groups like this are totally disenfranchised with the political status quo and surround themselves with like minded folks and follow a "chrismatic"? leader and become totally miopic in their thought process...your either with me or against me, black and white thinking feed by no control over lack of job oppertunities etc, no way out of their struggle for a reasonable middle class life..IMO

Dwight Lang

Thu, Apr 1, 2010 : 3:07 p.m.

What are local sources of outrage that eventually lead groups like Hutaree to courtrooms? What is it about our region that produces this type of steaming discontent? It has happened before. And why have local governments in southern Michigan become problems instead of solutions? Any suggestions?