Saturday, May 05, 2007

Federal Agents Bust Alabama “Free Militia”

Federal agents executed four search warrants today in Alabama at the homes of “Free Militia” members. The search turned up:

* 130 grenades
* grenade launcher
* machine gun
* short barreled shot-gun
* two silencers
* numerous other firearms
* 2500 rounds of ammunition
* explosive components
* approximately 70 Improvised Explosive Devices (IED)
* commercial fireworks
* enough ammunition to fill a U-Haul trailer
* over 100 Marijuana plants

Agents also encountered booby traps at one location.

Here is the full press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office regarding the operation:

BIRMINGHAM, AL - This morning in DeKalb, Marshall and Jefferson Counties, 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.” During the search warrants, ATF, along with state and local law enforcement recovered 130 grenades, 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 (IED), and commercial fireworks. Also recovered was enough ammunition to fill a U-Haul trailer, and over 100 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 Alice H. Martin, United States Attorney. “All evidence developed will be presented quickly to a federal grand jury, and 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, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “The communities in the area are a lot 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:


of Collinsville (DeKalb County), Alabama;

ADAM LYNN CUNNINGHAM, 41, of Collinsville (DeKalb County), Alabama;

BONNELL HUGHES a/k/a BUSTER HUGHES, 57, of Crossville,

(Marshall County) Alabama;

RANDALL GARRETT COLE, 22, of Gadsden (Etowah County), Alabama;

JAMES RAY MCELROY, 20, of Collinsville (Etowah County), Alabama.

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, 30, of Trussville (Jefferson County), Alabama, was charged with being a drug user in possession of a firearm, which carries a maximum penalty of ten 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 Tuesday, May 1, 2007, at 1:30 pm before a Magistrate Judge in U.S. District Court. An indictment has not been filed at this time, additional charges are likely.

“Governor Riley and I are pleased this operation was successful,” said Alabama Homeland Security Director Jim Walker.

“The U.S. Marshal Service, particularly in the Northern District, has enjoyed an excellent relationship with ATF,” stated U.S. Marshal Martin Keely. “We were pleased that we could contribute to the success of the operation.” DILLARD was a federal fugitive.

This investigation involved numerous federal, state and local law enforcement. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives 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 IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices). Other Agencies include, The U.S. Marshal Service, The Federal Bureau of Investigation, The Alabama State Fire Marshals, The Alabama Bureau of Investigation, 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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