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Posted on Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 3:45 p.m.

FBI raids in Washtenaw, Lenawee counties tied to Michigan militia group

By Lee Higgins

Updated story: 9 Hutaree members face federal charges of conspiracy, attempting to use weapons of mass destruction

The FBI conducted raids Saturday night in Washtenaw County and Lenawee County in an investigation involving members of Hutaree, a Christian-oriented militia group based in Lenawee County, has learned.

The nature of those raids has not been made public. FBI Special Agent Jason Pack, who is based in Washington, D.C., said he did not know how many people were taken into custody. Gina Balaya, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit, could not be reached for comment today.

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Michigan Militia member James Schiel, second from left, told today that five people were arrested in the raids. He is pictured with Hutaree member Wendy Lineweaver, a member who goes by the name Chainsaw, a member named Kevin, and Will Bachman. In the photo, they were helping local law enforcement officials search for a Bridgewater Township man who was missing in February.

"I can confirm that there is ongoing law enforcement activity in the Ann Arbor general area," Pack said in a written statement. "Since the federal warrants are under court ordered seal, legally we cannot provide further comment at this time."

Local Michigan militia member Jimmy Schiel said he was told five people were arrested - including one known member of Hutaree. Schiel said the five were reportedly arrested during a raid at a service in the Ann Arbor area for a Hutaree member who died recently. Schiel was told about eight Hutaree members were present. He didn't know who organized the service. Schiel, who said he was invited but did not attend, spoke to a Hutaree member who was there, he said. The member told him people were questioned about guns.

Hutaree members couldn't be reached for comment today. As reported last week, several Hutaree members were recently involved in searches in Bridgewater Township after two residents went missing in separate incidents. Bridgewater Township Supervisor Jolea Mull, who is a Republican, had requested help from local militia members to assist in those searches. Schiel worked closely with Hutaree members on both occasions.

Matt Savino, a member of the Lenawee County Volunteer Militia, said he met with a group of Hutaree members about 11 p.m. Saturday outside an Adrian convenience store. Savino said a Hutaree member had called him and said "there's an emergency" and he needed to talk, but didn't specify what it was about.

Savino and two other members from his unit met with the man, who was accompanied by three other men, two women and a young child. The man told Savino federal law enforcement agents had raided his Lenawee County home and had already taken five Hutaree members into custody in the Ann Arbor area, Savino said. He asked Savino for help.

"I asked why are they getting detained and why are they raiding your house and they had no answer," Savino said.

Savino said he encouraged the man to turn himself in. The man said, "That's not an option," and the group left, Savino said.

Hutaree claims to have about 30 members, including several who live Washtenaw County. The group has its own pastor and a leader, members said. Members are known to train with AR-15s.

The Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia has not been targeted in any raids, spokesman Mike Lackomar said. The group posted a message on its website today saying, "Neither nor the SMVM have been 'raided' by the FBI. We do nothing illegal."

The FBI set up a command post at the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department late last week. Sheriff's spokesman Derrick Jackson said the department was not involved in the operation.

The FBI conducted multiple raids Saturday and into Sunday in Adrian, and one of them centered on a property where known members of a militia live, the Associated Press reported.

Several other raids took place around the same time in Ohio and Indiana, although it's unclear whether they were related. The Ohio raids took place in Sandusky and Huron, and the Indiana raid occurred in Hammond.

The Department of Homeland Security and the Joint Terrorism Task Force are also involved in the raids, the AP reported.

Here are links to news coverage of FBI raids in southeast Michigan and elsewhere Saturday night:

Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for He can be reached at or 734-623-2527.


Alan Benard

Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 3:58 p.m.

@true2blue76: You wrote:3. The high crime rates (and now the terrorist threat) have increased the presence and level of activity of law enforcement agencies. So now we have juxtaposed law enforcement and groups who are alienated from legitimate law enforcement. Mutual suspicion and inevitable clashes are the 100% probability.Uh, no.Preliminary figures indicate that, as a whole, law enforcement agencies throughout the Nation reported a decrease of 4.4 percent in the number of violent crimes brought to their attention for the first six months of 2009 when compared with figures reported for the same time in 2008. The violent crime category includes murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. The number of property crimes in the United States from January to June of 2009 decreased 6.1 percent when compared with data from the same time period in 2008. Property crimes include burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. Arson is also a property crime, but data for arson are not included in property crime totals. Figures for 2009 indicate that arson decreased 8.2 percent when compared to 2008 figures from the same time period. fear of "high crime rates" is code-language for "I fear nonwhite people."


Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 11:11 a.m.

Love it when gossip becomes news. Why didn't the A2 website wait until things could officially be commented on before running this story? Right now it is a bunch of heresay--a member attending the meeting said that...and told so and so and he told the writer...and the writer told us....

Jake C

Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 10:46 a.m.

@waylon: "I am not a Militia member by any means.. but, I own a shotgun, and have a dog, and drive a old pick up truck.. so, how long before they come after me?" Uhh, never? The government doesn't care that you have a dog, a shotgun, or a pickup truck. Until you start conspiring with fundamentalist militia wackjobs to kill policemen and then allegedly bomb their funerals, because that's the charges in this case. And that's when the government should care.


Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 8:16 a.m.

"We don't need any more fed-instigated Waco incidents."- Lets get this out of the way now! At Waco the feds were serving valid warrants, the members of the squad were gunned down in cold blood! What followed was a crazy episode in our history, but it was not "instigated" by the feds. They were DOING THEIR JOBS when they were murdered. David Koresh was insane, he is not hero, it is HIS fault the children died, he was in control of his "compound", HE decided to fight with bullets instead of using the law.

Alan Benard

Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 8:10 a.m.

@Gribble: Original reporting? That's dead tree media, friend! 2.0! 2.O! Content is free.

Barbara Goodsitt

Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 7:59 a.m.

Hooray for our FBI. Keep up the good work. I was horrified that local governments were using these militia groups to assist the police.


Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 7:28 a.m.

Christian? About as Christian as Obama's old church with Jeremiah Wright. Please don't associate a group as Christian just because they say they believe in Christ. Satan believes in Christ, and I dare say he is not a Christian.

Anonymous Due to Bigotry

Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 7:26 a.m.

Note that there are significant numbers of Democrats that also support 2nd amendment rights and the 1st amendment right of free assembly.


Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 7:13 a.m.

What is the purpose of the statement: "Bridgewater Township Supervisor Jolea Mull, who is a Republican, had requested help from local militia members to assist in those searches." What does his political affiliation have to do with this story? Are you hinting that Republicans are secretly closer to militia groups than Democrats? Or simply identifying his party?


Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 7:01 a.m.

So, is sending a reporter to, or are we going to get an update involving, hearsay, speculation and conjecture?

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball

Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 6:46 a.m.

The headline to this story is way off - AAnews should remove it.. If you have so few facts - just report what you have - "the FBI made raids in the Adrian area" it seems there are no other facts. Are these drug raids? Searching for a escapee? Most wanted? Perhaps some other violation?. Please, AAnews, verify what you have before you jump to all the "linking" commentary....

Anonymous Due to Bigotry

Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 5:32 a.m.

If there are any people in the ALF who are arrested on eco-terrorism or weapons charges that also happen to be a members of a local non-violent environmental group, I hope people will hold to the same standards that they've demonstrated in this article. That is, they should be held to the standard of showing photos of people in the non-violent environmental group who weren't arrested and weren't part of the ALF (or whatever), and as well as their standard of not doing anything to downplay the involvement of the non-violent group. For the sake of fairness they'll need to do that if they're going to set this sort of precedent.


Mon, Mar 29, 2010 : 2:23 a.m.

I am not a Militia member by any means.. but, I own a shotgun, and have a dog, and drive a old pick up truck.. so, how long before they come after me? The one's they should be raiding are in Washington D.C, oh wait, no their not.. their on Easter vaction after craming a unconstitutional health care bill down our throat's! Don't let this and other articles distract you form what's really just happened!

Paul Taylor

Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 11:35 p.m.

Before the "Tea Party" stuff began, teabagging had the same connotation it has today. That is why so many stable people get a hearty laugh out of it.

Macabre Sunset

Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 11:11 p.m.

No, Tony, you don't welcome comments. Your staff is biased and small-minded. If a topic goes in a political direction that doesn't match your personal biases, you simply wipe the slate. I know you feel you're doing the right thing, because you're a modern blogger and the current fad with newspapers and bloggers is to push your opinion instead of simply reporting the facts. But it's unpleasant and it means a good percentage of your audience loses respect for you. Instead of looking for ways to eliminate community participation, why don't you try to include more people? Even people who don't agree with your narrow views. I'll throw in the word "teabagger" because you guys seem to like that word - even if you have no idea what it means.


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 7 p.m.

@ Alan Goldsmith "And a simple journalist search of the group's website last week would have shown the anti-Semitic vile spewing forth too. But that reporting didn't happen." If you read their site carefully you will see that the Hutaree are not anti-semitic at all. In fact, they are pro-zionist (pro- Israel)as are many charismatic christian groups with their eye on the "end times". There are, however many anti-semitic comments on the public portion of the forum that are made by non Hutaree members. So, actually the Hutaree are unique in the world of armed Christian wackos for not being anti-semitic. Their "Evil Jew Forum" is an ironically-named members only chat thread for Hutaree to discuss certain issues without the interference of of the usual jew-baiting comments from non members. Also, it is breaking that they were being raided because of threats that they made to an advocacy group for Muslim Americans. So, instead of being anti-Semites they are looking more likely to be fellow travelers of Likud than of Aryan Nations.


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 6:42 p.m.

The post by "Technojunkie" seems very suspect. Though I know there are rights being taken away all the time. There are those radical groups that are always crying wolf. Most of the time if you are "hassled" by law enforcement it is because you BROKE the law! It is not much different from driving down I-94 at 120 MPH then whining when you are given a ticket! I recognize that there are rogue cops that violate someones civil rights more than we would like.

Chris Blackstone

Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 6:32 p.m.

Another article that I read calls Hutaree a Christian cult, which based on their doctrine statement and the content of their About Us pages seems more accurate than "Christian-oriented".


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 6:20 p.m.,355 "Re: Here you are under fire today. Posted by: Anna () Date: March 28, 2010 02:03PM The Federal Authorities have raided not only our group but also the Michigan Militia. They have hijacked their website and placed word there that they were not raided. We need some help please. This has to stop. I am enroute south with my children using the wifi's as I can. They were catching others as they came to their rallying points, they broke into homes and took children and used the tasers on wives, my son who is 12 and I got out by crawling through the creeks behind our house. My husband and others are taken, please call the press and tell them, if any in the Michigan Militia is still free please rally with them. Please help." Scary. Warning: there are a lot of non-member trolls polluting their forums. Pay close attention to who is saying what.


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 6:13 p.m. The official spin appears to be that Hutaree was maybe going to attack Muslims. The Hamas front group called CAIR is applauding the raids. Google Hutaree for more news links. Reading the forums on the only "hate" I'm finding is from trolls, not Hutaree members. The actual members seem friendly and very pro-Israel, certainly moreso than the current administration. This situation stinks IMHO.


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 6:12 p.m.

Totally disagree with most of the "militia" group. Yea good Christians just like "Rev" Wright but you won't address that honestly! You would never call him what he is!

David Briegel

Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 6:04 p.m.

And these are all good "Christians"! Ahhhhhhhhh, Christianity???

David Briegel

Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 6:01 p.m.

And which dress would you have ole J Edgar wear? Ronnie Reagan was the first in a long line of subsequent Repubs to go right to the source of racist, anti semetic incitement at Bob Jones Univ and that appearance has given the approval to all who followed that they were welcome in the mainstream of the "new" Republican party. These are the "leaders" that the "new leaders" like the Ohio boy with the perpetual tan, Palin and Steele and all the other geniuses put forth to spin the talking points of intolerance and racist hatred that have now become mainstream in the "new" Republican party. America has deprived them of the one thing they desire. A WHITE President of the USA! And our current Pres had a white Mom but, don't tell them, they would be confused!!


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 5:01 p.m.

I know that most posting here are well aware of the story that ran about the search and we do not have to Google to find it! You got a problem with Cheetos?

Paul Taylor

Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 4:46 p.m.

If anyone bellyaching about the picture would take a moment from eating Cheetos and do a google search, you'll find that the picture accompanied an story just a few days ago related to militias. There is a person in the picture whose name is coming up in this story as well. Therefore, there is a connection. Sheesh, get a grip people.


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 4:43 p.m.

The Michigan Militia web site says they were not raided.


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 4:26 p.m.

It is a tad rude to have pictures of people, and dogs for that matter, that haqve notring to do with the story. How about a shot of J. Edgar Hoover instead?


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 4:25 p.m.

While I am an avid hunter and have been for 50 years and I support our right to bear arms. Some of these militia groups do more harm to the cause of gun ownership than they will admit. It is apparent that there are some of them that just want to play war. And any bit of publicity they can get gives them a rush.

John Galt

Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 4:22 p.m.

Why does the AA News place this photo (of innocent peole trying to help search for a missing person) in this article? Typical attempt to blame conservatives or right wing "radicals" by association. Many have pointed it out. And the "News" does nothing. Very telling....

John Hritz

Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 4:06 p.m.

I have to agree with the group. The photo is prejudicial and confusing. Please take it down and replace with something directly relevant to the story.


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 4:06 p.m.

Until we have more facts it is hard to comment on this "article" other than to say this. If there was a raid on a U of M party I would hope that would not put a photo up of a random U of M fan from their "file"


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 3:46 p.m.

Agreed. There's nothing of journalistic value in that photo. It's tremendously unfair to the people in the photo. If art is needed, embed one of the youtube videos of the militia members doing their exercises in the woods.


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 3:21 p.m.

Doesn't seem fair to run that photo on this story.


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 3:01 p.m.

If the people in the photo have no connection to the people who were arrested, the photo needs to be removed. Images have a powerful effect, and when used improperly can quickly serve a lasting impression that is wrong.


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 2:57 p.m.

Blissfield Advance has confirmed there was an operation in Ogden Township on Bruce Highway. Ogden is between Blissfield and Sand Creek.


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 2:16 p.m.

a number of commenters have raised the issue of who are the real terrorists...the u.s. govt, the militias or the jihadists; a useful bit of reading is george michael's THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY,(a univ of oklahoma press publication), which is a study of the links between home grown,often white supremacist "christian' groups, (including many militias), and islamic radicalism. the common thread is antisemitism and "jews run the world" conspiracy fantasies. its just a matter of time before our local, and increasingly marginalized, anti "zionist" synagogue harassing faux "progressives" reach out to such, (if they havent already). in any case i'd trust my goverment, assuming it continues to be drawn from mainstream parties, more than id trust any "citizen'movement, right or left, affiliated with such yahoos.


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 1:29 p.m.

According to the linked story there were seven arrests for selling pipe bombs. It looks like the FBI is moving against people who are selling pipe bombs.

Fat Bill

Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 12:50 p.m.

@ Gene. I bet the folks who worked in the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City back in 1995 would have a different opinion about who the "real" terrorists are, as would Eric Rudolph's victims...

Anonymous Due to Bigotry

Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 12:49 p.m.

@bruceae: Exactly. If you're going to use the term "Michigan militia" (not a proper name) then it seems quite irresponsible to show a photo of Michigan Militia members unless they're also members of Hutaree. It's actually worse than showing Mary Sue Coleman for an arrest at U of M. It would be more similar to saying "Michigan state university staff member arrested" while showing a photo of people at MSU when the particular state university where someone was arrested was actually U of M. As far as I can tell, Hutaree is not part of the Michigan Militia. Here's an example showing the separation: "But lo, and behold, at 6pm, just as the Day Shift was wrapping up, The Hutaree showed up to relieve us, and to conduct training of their own. For the first time, an entirely different unit was afield as we left. And left we did, with Camp Stasa in the more than capable hands of our friends in The Hutaree, we went home and had some fajitas." This does call them "friends" but they're obviously a different organization.

gene tracy

Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 12:24 p.m.

So the FBI and Homeland Security targets a bunch of midwestern ya-hoos who hang out in the woods, shoot their guns, and worry about black helicopters. As we speak, how many radical Islamic mosques and cells are operating in this country, openly advocating the overthrow of our government? Are the feds that afraid of violating the real terrorists civil rights?

David Bardallis

Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 11:26 a.m.

There is not enough info to form an opinion about anything. Will be interesting to see what these people actually did, if anything, and in the meantime I pray for a just and nonviolent resolution. We don't need any more fed-instigated Waco incidents.


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 11:05 a.m.

@dot com: It doesn't seem fair to use that photo of people looking for a lost person unless you know they were the ones being sought by the FBI. Otherwise, it makes it seem as if they were somehow involved in the FBI action. I don't buy that you're just using a file photo. It doesn't appear linked. Unless you know something you're not saying. If an Ann Arbor man was being sought by police, would you go onto the street and take a photo of anybody from Ann Arbor to illustrate the story?


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 10:45 a.m.

@bruceae thanks thats the piont I was trying to make


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 10:42 a.m.

So in a story about FBI raids you use a file photo of people who are just trying to help locate a missing person? Kind of like an article " an arrest was made at U of M" and you would use a file photo of Mary Sue Coleman.


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 10:28 a.m.

Why is there a picture of Michigan milita members that states they were searching for a missing person?


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 10:22 a.m.

Oh great. Another myth revering radical group armed to the teeth. I wonder if Creedence Clearwater Revival likes them using the CCR initials.


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 9:47 a.m.

@Alan. WDIV = news organization. = blog

Alan Benard

Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 9:46 a.m.

I was going to point out that it is not irresponsible to state the name of a particular organization if the reporter can quote a direct source. However, on review, in the current version of this story (which should probably be a series of articles, rather than "overwriting" the previous update and its presentation of facts), the reporter cites "Michigan militia' members, with a small "m." While there is an organization with the proper name "Michigan Militia." I know this is a breaking story, but your writing is unclear and this is not best practice when linking groups to law enforcement raids.


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 9:40 a.m.

Everyday stuff throughout the state. Sometimes the media catches it, sometimes they don't. I'm sure the FBI would have rathered the operation be complete before plastering the story everywhere.

Anonymous Due to Bigotry

Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 9:38 a.m.

"possibly connected" to the Michigan Militia. Seems very irresponsible to bring in the name of a specific organization unless they're sure. So does the title of this article mean Michigan Militia or just some random "militia" group in Michigan?


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 9:35 a.m.

Don't believe what WDIV says- their reporting is very poor.Most of the action seems to have been in Adrian. The sat. dishes they show as being the FBI command center have always been in the jail back lot. WDIV always wants the scoop even if they don't really have the story- They will rush to air with NO real facts.

Alan Benard

Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 9:34 a.m.


Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 9:06 a.m.

"Michigan State Police told WDIV the raids weren't terror related, but would not comment further." Strange, why is the Anti-terrorism Task Force involved? Bet we never find out anything more cause it's not in our best interest.

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, Mar 28, 2010 : 8:35 a.m.

helicopters, sealed federal warrants and state police with no comment. Sounds a bit 3rd world to me.