Four ex-soldiers and a civilian were indicted in Georgia Tuesday for connections to a secret militia that authorities say was led by Fort Stewart troops who stockpiled weapons and talked of overthrowing the government.
A grand jury indicted the five under the Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, plus counts involving theft, burglary and auto break-ins, the Associated Press reported. The crimes were committed to fund the group, which called itself FEAR for Forever Enduring Always Ready, Liberty County District Attorney Tom Durden said.
"The burglaries and entering autos, they were committed in an effort to fund FEAR and what FEAR was at least advocating they wanted to accomplish," said Durden, the top prosecutor for southeast Georgia's Atlantic Judicial Circuit, in Savannah. Their plans included bombing a Savannah park fountain and poisoning apple crops in the state of Washington, prosecutors say.
The new indictments Monday bring to 10 the total number of people charged in connection with the militia group.
Four are current soldiers at nearby Fort Stewart and are charged with murder in the December slayings of former soldier Michael Roark and his teenage girlfriend, Tiffany York. Authorities say Roark was killed, along with York, after he left the Army in order to protect the group and its plots.
A wife of one of the soldiers has also been charged in the slayings.
Fort Stewart officials confirmed four of the men charged in the latest indictments are former soldiers - Christopher Jenderseck, 26, of St. Cloud, Minn.; Adam Dearman, 27, of Auburn, Ga.; Timothy Joiner, 21, of Hampton, Ga.; and Anthony Garner, 23, of Newnan, Ga. Three of them were discharged from the Army between November and May, while Jenderseck's enlistment ended in April.
The fifth man charged was Dearman's brother, Randall Blake Dearman.
Jenderseck was arrested Tuesday in North Dakota, but Joiner and Garner weren't in custody, authorities told CNN Tuesday.
A law enforcement official said the four soldiers had legally purchased at least 18 rifles and handguns in Washington and Georgia. Uncompleted pipe bombs were also found, and were comprised of store-bought materials, the official said. No sophisticated military grade-explosives were involved in their construction.
"We remain confident there are no unknown subjects," Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson said in a statement. "The five individuals indicted today ... were known to the investigation and were not publicly identified previously to preserve the integrity of the investigation and ongoing civilian legal proceedings."