The FBI, on Tuesday, arrested four men in Georgia, on allegations of attempting biological terrorist attack on the United States. The U.S. Justice Department says the men were planning to buy explosives and produce a biological toxin weapon.
A Reuters report identifies the accused men as Frederick Thomas, 73, of Cleveland, Ga.; Dan Roberts, 67, of Toccoa, Ga.; Ray H. Adams, 65, of Toccoa; and Samuel J. Crump, 68, of Toccoa.
FBI says the men were going to use a naturally occurring protein called ricin as major component of their weapon. The major targets of the men were Georgia police, federal government buildings and employees of federal government agencies such as the IRS.
FBI says the men held meetings in March. The meetings were under FBI surveillance. An undercover FBI agent met with the men who discussed plans to buy explosives and weapon components. Prosecutors say one of the men, identified as Samuel J. Crump, said, in a meeting the group held in September, that he was going to produce ten pounds of ricin and release it from a car traveling along an Atlanta highway. Samuel Crump, Reuters reports, produced ricin from a sample of beans he obtained in October.
Ricin is very highly toxic substance. As little as a grain of the substance can cause death, after exposure, between 36 to 72 hours. There is no known antidote to ricin poisoning. Bill Warner describes the effect of ricin:
"As little as a thousandth of a gram can kill an adult. It can be deadly if eaten, inhaled or injected. Ricin poisoning will create flu-like symptoms within a few hours, including fever, vomiting and coughing. Ultimately it can cause the lungs, liver, kidneys and immune system to fail. Death can occur within three days. Ricin poisoning is not infectious..."
Reuters reports the men are members of a "fringe domestic militia group," and pibillwarner.com describes them as extreme right-wing militants.
U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia Sally Quillian Yates, said,
“These defendants, who are alleged to be part of a fringe militia group, are charged with planning attacks against their own fellow citizens and government. To carry out their agenda, two of the defendants allegedly purchased purported explosives and a silencer, while the other two defendants took steps to attempt to produce a deadly biological toxin."
Yates also said the case highlights the need not to assume threat to U.S. national security comes only from Islamic extremists. She said:
"While many are focused on the threat posed by international violent extremists, this case demonstrates that we must also remain vigilant in protecting our country from citizens within our own borders who threaten our safety and security."