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Leader of Violent Supremacist Group Arrested in Michigan

Federal agents on Thursday arrested two men, including the self-proclaimed leader of the Base, a violent, white supremacist group, as part of a crackdown on extremism in Michigan three weeks after the FBI said it thwarted a plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the Detroit News reports. FBI agents arrested Justen Watkins, 25, of Bad Axe, the self-proclaimed leader of the Base, and Alfred Gorman, 35, of Taylor, during a pair of raids across Michigan. They are linked to a December 2019 incident in which a family was terrorized by the men, who tried to intimidate a husband and wife and shared their address with members of the Base, said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Her office charged the men with several felonies, including gang membership, using a computer to commit a crime and unlawful posting of a message. The development comes three weeks after prosecutors said the FBI thwarted a plot to overthrow the government as well as kidnap and harm Whitmer. In all, 14 people have been charged with crimes in state and federal courts, including members and associates of an obscure militia, the Wolverine Watchmen. The conspiracy was led by anti-government extremists angered by state restrictions on travel and business imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.