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Utah man suspected of antigovernment plot to bomb police station

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Utah man arrested on suspicion of plotting to bomb police station, stir antigovernment uprising

A 47-year-old Utah man is jailed, accused of plotting to kill police officers and blow up a police station in the town of Tremonton to start an uprising against the government, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. 

John Huggins was arrested Tuesday and appeared in federal court Friday afternoon, charged with possessing an unregistered destructive device, Melodie Rydalch, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Utah, said in a statement.

He will remain in custody until a detention hearing Tuesday, Rydalch said. If convicted, Huggins could face up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines, she said.

According to court documents, Huggins built an improvised explosive device and possessed explosive materials and instructions for making bombs.
 
A "concerned citizen" contacted Tremonton police in February to report that Huggins had threatened to blow up a Bible study group and had buried bombs around the city of Ogden, FBI Special Agent Steven Cadiz said in the court papers. Tremonton is about 35 miles north of Ogden.

Although the information was inaccurate, police learned Huggins had threatened to blow up the Tremonton Police Department, the documents allege. He also wanted to assassinate two officers before the bombing and blow up bridges and other infrastructure to prevent emergency responders from being able to help, according to the criminal complaint. 

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

The FBI and a confidential informant who met with Huggins helped local investigators, according to the documents. At one point, the papers said, the informant got a USB drive from Huggins containing instructions on how to manufacture drugs, bombs and booby traps.

The informant told investigators that Huggins had videos of himself blowing up a vehicle, the court papers said. All of the information was kept on a computer in a trailer, where Huggins also manufactured shrapnel and explosive devices, the informant told investigators.

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

On Monday and Tuesday, the informant told police that Huggins was making explosive devices and shrapnel to put inside them. Huggins met with the undercover agent and the informant at a Tremonton restaurant Thursday, Cadiz said. After discussing bomb-making again, he was arrested.

Investigators found a homemade explosive device similar to a grenade while searching his trailer after the arrest, Cadiz said in the court documents.
 
Rydalch said the investigation was ongoing and additional charges may be presented when the case comes before a grand jury.

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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