GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A Michigan militia leader admitted Wednesday, Jan. 27, that he had been monitoring Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s vacation home as part of a plot to kidnap him.
Ty Garbin, 25, pleaded guilty to kidnapping conspiracy, a potential lifetime offense, during a hearing before U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker.
The sentence is set for July 8.
Under a plea agreement, Garbin must cooperate with investigators. In return, prosecutors will not file additional charges. Prosecutors are also said to be looking to reduce his potential sentence for significant help in the investigation.
Garbin, represented by attorneys Mark Satawa and Gary Springstead, admitted in court that he joined others in September for the nighttime watch of the governor’s home in northern Michigan.
“I was (there), your honor,” he said.
Garbin is the first of six federal defendants to plead guilty to charges.
Brandon Caserta, 33, of Canton, Barry Croft Jr., 44, of Bear, Delaware, Adam Fox, 37, of Wyoming, Kaleb Franks, 26, of Waterford, and Daniel Harris, 23, are also charged with federal kidnapping conspiracy charges. , from Lake Orion.
Eight others are awaiting trial on charges against the state.
A lifelong Michigan resident, Garbin lives in Hartland Township, Livingston County. He got his aircraft maintenance certificate from a trades school, he told the judge.
He was a suspected leader of Wolverine Watchmen, a Michigan-based militia.
Earlier testimony has shown that those allegedly involved have a keen interest in guns and Second Amendment rights.
“I know guns are of interest to you,” the judge said, adding that he would be prohibited from owning guns due to the felony conviction.
“I understand that, Your Honor. “
Garbin said he was involved in discussions about the governor’s kidnapping and participated in on-the-job training.
The talk included storming the state capital or kidnapping Whitmer from the governor’s residence on Mackinac Island or his private home in northern Michigan, court records show.
Participants received tactical training, as well as combat first aid, including the use of tourniquets and the treatment of burns, gunshot wounds and shrapnel in case they were in a firefight with the police, according to the plea agreement.
Undercover FBI agents and confidential sources provided information throughout the summer planning ahead of the arrests start in October.