FBI arrest militia linked to bomb conspiracy

US federal agents have arrested another suspect in a continuing round- up of members of the "Viper Militia", the far-right paramilitary group in Arizona accused of plotting to blow up government buildings in a scheme uncannily similar to the Oklahoma City bombing of April 1995.

On the basis of evidence thus far released by prosecutors, the group does not appear to have actually carried out any attacks. However, a host of signs suggest it is an especially violent and well-armed specimen of the paranoid anti-government groups that have been dragged into the spotlight over the past 14 months.

Foremost among these signs is what prosecutors claim is a 1994 video made by the group, amounting to a reconnaissance tour of targets in the Phoenix area - not only representatives of hated federal agencies like the Internal Revenue, the FBI, the US Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, but also buildings housing local law-enforcement bodies such as the Phoenix police, the Arizona national guard, as well as a television station.

A voice-over on the tape describes how each target could be destroyed, complete with details of the buildings' support structures, plans to destroy gas and water mains to hamper firefighters and rescuers, and for "anti-personnel" bombs to be planted in nearby mailboxes. These would explode as survivors tried to escape.

Nor was this idle talk. Police say that only two months ago, on 1 May, Viper Militia members claimed to have stockpiled 1,700lb of ammonium nitrate, the same ingredient which, mixed with fuel, made up the two-ton truck bomb that wrecked the Alfred P Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people.

On Monday a six-month undercover infiltration scheme came to a climax with the arrest of 134 people, 11 men and two women. As they picked up the suspects at their homes, police found 400lb of the chemical as well as some 200 guns. A "potentially dangerous situation," had been defused, the Attorney General, Janet Reno, said.

Thus far no links have been established between the Viper Militia and the Oklahoma bombing. But the arrests only underscore the appeal of remote Arizona, with its frontier traditions, as a training ground for separatist groups, determined to avenge incidents like the FBI siege at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992 and the federal agents' assault at Waco the following year.

Far-right extremists are believed responsible for the October 1995 sabotage of the Sunset Express train as it crossed the deserts of western Arizona. The state was also home to Timothy McVeigh, one of the two men charged with carrying out the Oklahoma bombing. He is due to go on trial later this year.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - 3-4 Month Fixed Contract - £30-£35k pro rata

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a 3-4 month pro rata fi...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £26,000+

£16000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map