07/12/2014

FBI foils Utah man's plan to bomb police station

FBI agents and police in Tremonton arrested John Huggins on Thursday on a charge of possessing an unregistered destructive device

By Michelle L. Price
Associated Press

TREMONTON, Utah — Authorities arrested a 47-year-old Utah man Thursday that they say had been plotting to kill police officers and blow up a police station with the hope the attacks would cause an uprising against the government.

FBI agents and police in Tremonton arrested John Huggins on Thursday on a charge of possessing an unregistered destructive device, U.S. Attorney's Office of Utah spokeswoman Melodie Rydalch said in a statement Friday evening.

Huggins made an initial appearance in federal court late Friday and will remain in custody until a detention hearing Tuesday afternoon, Rydalch said. It was not immediately clear where Huggins was being held.

If convicted on the unregistered-device charge, Huggins could face 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Huggins built an improvised explosive device and possessed explosive materials and instructions for making bombs, FBI Special Agent Steven Cadiz said in court documents.

In February, a "concerned citizen" contacted Tremonton police to report Huggins threatened to blow up a Bible study group and had buried bombs around the city of Ogden, Cadiz said.

Police later determined that information was incorrect, but Huggins had threatened to blow up the Tremonton Police Department and wanted to assassinate two officers before the bombing, according to court records. He also planned to blow up bridges and other infrastructure to prevent emergency responders from being able to help, the court records state.

Huggins stated he believed the attacks would cause the community to rise up against the government, investigators said.

It's unclear in the court documents where and when Huggins made the threats.

Local investigators were helped by the FBI and a confidential informant, who met with Huggins on multiple occasions, Cadiz said. At one point, the informant bought a USB thumb drive from Huggins that contained instructions on how to manufacture drugs, bombs, booby traps and other information.

The informant told investigators that Huggins had videos of himself blowing up a vehicle.

All of the information was kept on a computer in a trailer, where Huggins also later manufactured shrapnel and explosive devices, the informant told investigators.

An undercover FBI agent later met with Huggins and discussed bomb making, Cadiz said in court records. Huggins later offered to make a bomb for the agent, according to court records.

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, the confidential informant told Tremonton police that Huggins had been making explosive devices and shrapnel to put inside them.

Huggins met with the undercover agent and the confidential informant at a Tremonton restaurant on Thursday, Cadiz said. After more discussion of bomb-making, Huggins was arrested, Cadiz said.

Investigators searching Huggins' trailer later found a homemade explosive device similar to a grenade and other explosive material, Cadiz said.

Rydalch said the investigation was ongoing and Huggins could face additional charges when the case is presented to a grand jury.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press

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