Thirteen people have been arrested for anti-government plots against the state of Michigan, according to information from the state's attorney general and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Six of those people have been charged federally with plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer from her vacation home. U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge called the six men "violent extremists."
A criminal complaint about the case unsealed in federal court Thursday alleges that the men worked on the plot for months and held rehearsals. The government was able to halt the plot thanks to the work of undercover agents and informants.
The criminal complaint quotes one of the alleged conspirators as saying that Whitmer "has no checks and balances at all. She has uncontrolled power right now. All good things must come to an end."
Originally, at least one member of the group discussed taking the governor and others hostage during an attack on the Capitol building in Lansing. He advocated trying Whitmer for treason. In the complaint, the FBI mentions that two of the men wanted to recruit others to "take violent action against multiple state governments that they believe are violating the U.S. Constitution."
In addition to the accused would-be kidnappers, seven people have been arrested and charged at the state level for plotting to charge the Capitol building and also to threaten law enforcement officers, including at officers' homes. These seven men have been linked to Wolverine Watchmen, a militia group.
The majority leader of the Michigan Senate, Mike Shirkey, spoke out against the conspirators. He has vocally opposed Whitmer's extensive, months-long adoption of emergency powers during the coronavirus pandemic.
"A threat against our governor is a threat against us all," he said. "We condemn those who plotted against her and our government. They are not patriots. There is no honor in their actions. They are criminals and traitors, and they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
Detroit U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider responded to the plots saying that Michiganders "can disagree about politics, but those disagreements should never, ever amount to violence. Violence has been prevented today."