by: Richard Elliot Updated:
A federal court judge sentenced two north Georgia militia members to five years in prison for their part in a domestic terror plot that targeted government officials and buildings.
Fred Thomas, 73, and Dan Roberts, 68, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obtain unregistered explosive device charges earlier in the year.
FBI agents arrested the two men along with co-defendants Ray Adams and Sam Crump after an undercover investigation. Adams and Crump are charged with attempting to manufacture the deadly toxin Ricin. Agents said part of that plan included spreading the toxin from a moving car along Interstate 75 and Interstate 285.
In the sentencing hearing Wednesday, prosecutors played audio recordings from undercover agents and confidential informants detailing the plot to shoot government officials.
"I could shoot at the ATF and IRS all day long, at the judges and the DOJ and the attorneys and prosecutors," Thomas said on the recording.
In court, Roberts' attorney said it was nothing more than "old soldiers trash-talking the government," and pleaded for leniency.
Roberts himself also pleaded for leniency.
"I made a very bad mistake, and I know I am responsible for my actions. My intent was not to cause harm to anyone," Roberts told the judge.
"I am terribly, terribly sorry for what I've done," said Thomas, the alleged leader of the group. "Yes, I bought explosives, but I never would've killed anyone. It was just talk. I didn't mean anything."
Defense attorneys contended the men wanted to buy the explosives to blow up harmlessly in a field or to keep for defensive purposes.
Thomas' daughter is worried her father may not survive 10 years in federal prison.
"He's in really bad health. I'm not sure he could, but hopefully, he'll survive all of this, but I don't know," said Amy Sasser.
Prosecutors declined to comment after the sentence.
Adams and Crump could go to trial on their charges after the first of the year.