Fellow GunReports.com readers: Perhaps the government should license tampons instead of guns? Check out this item from the Department of Justice:
MINNEAPOLIS — A 23-year-old man from Austin, Texas, who was connected to a group that planned to disrupt the Republican National Convention (RNC) in September 2008, was sentenced in federal court to possessing destructive devices.
On May 14, in Minneapolis, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Michael Davis sentenced Bradley Neal Crowder to 24 months in prison and three years of supervised release on one count of possession of a destructive device. Crowder was indicted on Sept. 22, 2008, and pleaded guilty on Jan. 8, 2009.
“This case is part of a two-year effort with the U.S. Secret Service, along with our state and local partners, to identify and address threats to the 2008 Republican National Convention,” said Ralph Boelter, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Minneapolis Field Office. “Threatening life and property in the name of a perceived cause is reprehensible regardless of the ideological influence that motivates the attackers.”
According to Crowder’s plea agreement, he admitted that between Aug. 31 and Sept. 3, 2008, he knowingly possessed and manufactured eight Molotov cocktails, not registered to him or anyone else in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.
Crowder was indicted along with a second defendant, David Guy McKay, 22, Austin, Texas. Following a mistrial in February, McKay pleaded guilty to three firearms charges on March 17, 2009, and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Davis on May 21, 2009.
According to trial testimony, the FBI in Texas began investigating the group, labeled by law enforcement as the Austin Affinity Group, in February 2008. McKay and Crowder were members of the group.
On Aug. 28, 2008, Crowder and other members of the Austin Affinity Group traveled from Austin, Texas, to Minnesota. The group brought a rental trailer with them that contained 35 riot shields, made from stolen traffic barrels. The intended use of the shields was to help demonstrators block streets near the Xcel Energy Center in order to prevent convention delegates from safely reaching the convention. St. Paul Police seized these shields on Aug. 31.
According to trial testimony, McKay and Crowder, angered by the loss of the shields, purchased supplies for constructing Molotov cocktails at a St. Paul Wal-Mart on Aug. 31, including a gas can, motor oil and tampons. They also purchased gasoline at a gas station. They then manufactured the eight Molotov cocktails at an apartment on Dayton Avenue where they were staying.
During a FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation, authorities learned through an informant that McKay and Crowder had manufactured the Molotov cocktails. Crowder was arrested on Sept. 1 for disorderly conduct during an RNC demonstration.
During a conversation overheard by law enforcement through electronic surveillance on Sept. 2, McKay told an informant that he intended to throw the Molotov cocktails at police vehicles parked in a lot near the Dayton Avenue apartment. The parking lot was used as a checkpoint area for vehicles entering the security perimeter around the convention site. It was visibly patrolled by the U.S. Secret Service, various police agencies and the military.
During the execution of a search warrant by the St. Paul Police Department at the Dayton Avenue residence where McKay was staying when he was arrested, officers seized a variety of items, including gas masks, slingshots, helmets and knee pads. Under the kitchen sink, officers discovered a two-gallon gasoline container identical to the one purchased by Crowder and McKay at the Wal-Mart on Aug. 31. In the basement of the residence, officers found eight assembled Molotov cocktails. They consisted of bottles filled with gasoline with an attached wick made from tampons.
This case was the result of an investigation by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes in addition to the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, the Secret Service and the St. Paul Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey S. Paulsen and W. Anders Folk.