04/27/2007

Explosives recovered in Ala.; 6 members of 'The Free Militia' arrested

PR Newswire US

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — This morning in DeKalb, Ala., the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) spearheaded the execution of four federal search warrants at the homes of members of a group called "The Free Militia," U.S. Attorney Alice Martin for the Northern District of Alabama announced today.

During the search warrants, ATF, along with state and local law enforcement recovered 130 grenades, an improvised rocket launcher with live rounds, a grenade launcher, a machine gun, a short barreled shot-gun, two silencers, numerous other firearms, 2500 rounds of ammunition, explosive components, approximately 70 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), and commercial fireworks. Also recovered was enough ammunition to fill a U-Haul trailer, and over 120 marijuana plants. While executing the search warrants, officers encountered booby traps at one location.

"Deadly explosives have been removed from these communities due to outstanding investigative efforts," stated U.S. Attorney Martin. "All evidence developed will be presented quickly to a federal grand jury. We will also ask that those arrested be detained without bond."

"Today's arrest and search warrants have been significant due to the success of the combined efforts by ATF, as well as our state, local and federal partners," stated James Cavanaugh, ATF Special Agent in Charge. "The communities in the area are safer, considering the fact that large quantities of live grenades and other explosive materials have been safely removed. Excellent investigative team work led us to this point in our investigation."

Those arrested today include: Raymond Kirk Dillard, a.k.a. Jeff Osborne, 46 of Collinsville, Ala.; Adam Lynn Cunningham, 41, also of Collinsville; Bonnell Hughes, a.k.a. Buster Hughes, 57, of Crossville, Ala.; Michael Wayne Bobo, 30, of Trussville, Ala.; Randall Garrett Cole, 22, of Gadsden, Ala.; and James Ray McElroy, 20, of Collinsville.

The criminal complaint charges those arrested with conspiracy to make a firearm, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and a fine of $250,000. Michael Wayne Bobo was charged with being a drug user in possession of a firearm, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, and a fine of $250,000.

All the defendants appeared in U.S. District Court for an initial appearance. They will remain in federal custody and are scheduled to appear for detention hearings on May 1, 2007, at 1:30 P.M. EST before a Magistrate Judge in U.S. District Court. An indictment has not been filed at this time.

This investigation involved numerous federal, state and local law enforcement. ATF is the lead agency assisted by the Bomb Squads from Huntsville Police Department, Jefferson County, and Gadsden County Sheriffs' Departments and Alabama Department of Public Safety Bomb Squad who worked with ATF Bomb Techs in securing the IED's. Other Agencies include, The U.S. Marshal Service, The Alabama State Fire Marshals, The Alabama FBI, and the Sheriff's Offices and District Attorneys' Offices of DeKalb, Etowah, Marshall, and Jefferson Counties.

Members of the public are reminded that a criminal complaint contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government's burden to prove a defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

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