Three self-styled militia members were convicted of conspiracy on Wednesday for stockpiling pipe bombs to use at the Summer Olympics and in terrorist attacks on the federal government.
Militia leader Robert Starr III and members Troy Spain and Jimmy McCranie also were found guilty of possessing an unregistered destructive device. They face up to almost 22 years in prison on the charges.
The three were arrested in April and accused of conspiring to use pipe bombs on roads, vehicles, bridges, power lines and federal law enforcement officials.
Prosecutors said Spain hatched a plan for financing their “war” against the government by robbing armories and drug dealers.
Kevin Barker, a government informant and prosecution witness, testified that while discussing plans for a special operations team to rob drug dealers, Spain said he hoped they’d make enough money to quit work and train full time for Olympic terrorism.
The team members planned to use remote control devices or gunfire to detonate lunch boxes filled with explosives, Barker testified.
Defense attorneys argued that the three did nothing but talk about making bombs and were lured into the conspiracy by government informants.
“What he did was play Army,” said Spain’s attorney, Greg Spicer. “He engaged in loose talk.”
Moreover, Starr’s lawyers argued that the alleged conspiracy was actually a sting operation by Starr to weed out extremists from his group, the 112th Georgia Militia.
All three were acquitted of one conspiracy charge. Starr and McCranie also were acquitted of threatening a federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms supervisor in Macon, and Starr was acquitted of possession of an illegal assault rifle.
Starr, 35, an electrician, and McCranie, 30, a plumber, both of rural Crawford County, were arrested when federal agents found buried explosives on Starr’s property. Spain, 28, of Warner Robins, turned himself in in May.