Search of Hutaree member's home turns up weapons cache, food supply, prosecutors say
A search of Hutaree militia member Michael Meeks' residence turned up a cache of bullets and weapons, an extensive food supply and a a small plaque with barbed wire and the words "Remember Waco," prosecutors said in federal court today.
The former Washtenaw Community College student and ex-Marine was one of the last two members of the Hutaree militia group to undergo detention hearings in federal court in Detroit Thursday.
Six other members of the group had similar hearings Wednesday. One member's hearing was held in Indiana. U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Donald A. Scheer said he would rule by Friday on whether the Hutaree members held in Michigan would be let out on bail or detained.
All eight will be transported from the St. Clair County Jail, where they are being held, to federal court in Detroit Friday in case they're released or their lawyers file an appeal of a detention order.
In court proceedings today, federal prosecutors described Meeks' role in the militia as that of a gunner, who was tasked with providing covering fire during the coming war with the federal government. Prosecutors said Meeks, who served with the U.S. military in Desert Storm in Iraq, was a trusted member of the Hutaree inner circle.
Prosecutors said Meeks suggested within earshot of an undercover agent that the group should blow up a bridge and kill police officers. He also put together a "hit list" of federal judges and other officials to be killed, prosecutors said.
Meeks' lawyer, Mark Satawa, argued for Meeks' release, citing the fact he has worked for more than five years as a truck driver in the Adrian area as evidence of his ties to the community. Satawa also pointed out his family in court, including a brother who lives in Ypsilanti, and said that support system would help make sure he returned for court dates.
Nine suspected members of Hutaree, self-proclaimed "Christian warriors" who trained themselves in paramilitary techniques in preparation for a battle against the Antichrist, were arrested after a series of raids across the Midwest.
All have been charged with seditious conspiracy, or plotting to levy war against the United States.
Those charged included the group's leader David Brian Stone Sr. of Clayton, Joshua Clough of Blissfield, David Brian Stone Jr, Jacob Ward, Tina Stone, Meeks, Kristopher Sickles, Thomas Piatek and Joshua Stone.
William Swor, the attorney for David Brian Stone Sr., said the government hasn’t proved any risk of flight or risk to the community from his client or others. Several defense attorneys said the government hasn't shown their clients did anything other than talk. "They (the government) may not like the fact that he (Stone) doesn't like the government," Swor said. "Our country was founded on a fear of government. They (Hutaree members) were preparing to respond not to take action."
Prosecutors disagreed. They said that when people with "dark hearts and evil intentions got together to overthrow the government, crimes were committed and public safety was in danger."
Today's hearing was a continuation of proceedings that began Wednesday, when prosecutors sketched out the group’s organization and walked the court through a series of meetings and trainings the group held in 2009 and 2010, many of which were attended by an undercover agent.