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Feds: Christian militia needed to be 'taken down'

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news Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

DETROIT (AP) -- Federal authorities had been monitoring members of a Michigan-based Christian militia for some time but were forced to "take them down" over the weekend after learning of an imminent threat against police, the U.S. attorney leading the prosecution said today.

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Barbara McQuade's comments came three days after eight members of a small group of "Christian warriors" were arrested in several Midwestern states and a day after the FBI nabbed a ninth suspect, Joshua Stone, following a standoff at a trailer in rural Michigan.

"The time had come that we needed to arrest them and take them down," McQuade told The Associated Press in an interview at her office.

Across the street in Detroit federal court, Stone was arraigned today and was ordered held without bond until a hearing Wednesday.

McQuade said the "most troubling" finding of the investigation was that Hutaree members plotted to make a false 911 call, kill responding officers and then use a bomb to kill many more at the funeral.

The nine suspects were charged with seditious conspiracy -- plotting to levy war against the U.S. -- possessing a firearm during a crime of violence, teaching the use of explosives and attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction -- homemade bombs. Eight appeared in court Monday, with seven asking to be represented by public defenders. It was not immediately clear Tuesday whether attorneys had been appointed.

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