BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Five members of a self-styled Alabama militia were denied bond Tuesday after a federal agent testified they planned a machine-gun attack on Mexicans. A sixth man accused of having weapons and explosives components in his home was approved for release.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Armstrong said he could not grant bond because of the agent's testimony and the large number of weapons — including about 200 homemade hand grenades and a launcher — that were seized in raids last Friday.
"I'm going to be worried if I let these individuals go at this time," the judge said.
The five are charged with conspiring to make a firearm.
Law enforcement authorities, meanwhile, continued to look for additional weapons that could be linked to the group, including in a local cave.
Adam Nesmith, an agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, testified that the five men planned an attack on Mexicans in a small town just north of Birmingham, and went there on a reconnaissance mission April 20.
Nesmith said one of the men told an informant that the group, which calls itself the Alabama Free Militia, saw government agents as "the enemy" and had a standing order to open fire if anyone saw government agents approaching.
The sixth man is charged with being a drug user in possession of a firearm. A federal agent testified they found two rooms loaded with guns and possible explosives components, including fireworks, ball bearings, primers, mouse traps, light bulbs and fertilizer.
A lawyer for one of the men has said the case has been overblown by authorities. He said his client began stockpiling items partly because of the scare of the Y2K computer glitch in 2000.