Twelve members of a right-wing militia group in Arizona were
arrested Monday on charges of plotting for more than two years to
bomb government offices in the Phoenix area, federal officials
Attorney General Janet Reno said the 12 had trained to use
explosives to destroy buildings housing the federal Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the FBI, the Internal Revenue
Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Secret
Service, the Phoenix Police Department and the Arizona National
The paramilitary group, which called itself the Viper Militia,
engaged in field training exercises in which members made and
detonated ammonium nitrate bombs and rockets, according to a
seven-count indictment unsealed in Phoenix. The grand jury said
several members also trained with automatic weapons.
Ammonium nitrate was used in the bomb that destroyed a federal
office building in Oklahoma City, but authorities gave no
indication that the incidents were connected. The indictment said
the Arizona conspiracy began at least as early as May 30, 1994,
almost a full year before the Oklahoma City bombing.
The indictment described a videotape made on May 30, 1994, by
the group in which a member discussed approaches, security
measures, communications equipment, fences and adjacent structures
at the various target locations. The tape also provides suggestions
for placing explosives so that they cause the buildings to collapse.
For instance, the grand jurors said, the videotape described a
Phoenix building that in May 1994 housed the ATF, FBI and other
"The tape's narrator identifies supports for the building and
advises that the building would collapse if the supports were
destroyed," the indictment said.
"The tape advises that the placement of `anti-personnel'
devices in mailboxes shown near the entrance of the building could
harass U.S. Treasury employees. The tape advises that the
destruction of a water main shown near the building could inhibit
firefighting operations if the building were on fire."
The tape also shows multiple views of the exterior of the
building housing the IRS while the narrator discussed the shift
change schedule of building security guards and other security
measures. Showing the headquarters of the Phoenix Police
Department, the tape narrator says it would be difficult to take
over but that "it would be a `major political statement' if it were
taken over" and the records and equipment inside "would be
Much of the information in the indictment came from an
unidentified state police officer who infiltrated the militia as
part of the investigation, according to ATF agent Jose T. …