BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Six men described as members of a self-styled militia pleaded not guilty to federal charges brought following the seizure of an arsenal of weapons in raids in four Alabama counties.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Armstrong Jr. set a July 9 trial date Thursday for five of the men, who were indicted on federal charges of conspiring to make a firearm.
The five — Adam Cunningham, 41; Raymond K. Dillard, 46; James McElroy, 20; Bonnell Hughes, 57; and Randall Cole, 22 — have been held without bond after federal agents said they were members of an anti-government Free Militia group and had plans to attack Mexicans.
The sixth defendant, Michael Wayne Bobo, 30, was arraigned separately Thursday on drug and weapons possession charges. He was released earlier on $10,000 bond.
Authorities said agents recovered 130 homemade hand grenades, a grenade launcher, about 70 hand grenades rigged to be fired from a rifle, a machine gun, a short-barrel shotgun and 2,500 rounds of ammunition in the raids April 26.
Adam Nesmith, an agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, testified May 1 that the five planned a machine-gun attack on Mexicans in Remlap, a town north of Birmingham, and went there on a reconnaissance mission April 20.
Dillard's attorney, Scott Boudreaux, said the case is "not a big deal" and has been blown out of proportion by authorities. He denied that the men were planning an attack on Mexicans.