Bill Keebler, member of the Cliven Bundy militia group, has been charged with a bombing attempt at a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) facility in Arizona.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Keebler is being held in a Salt Lake County jail for placing a pipe bomb on a federal facility. Federal prosecutors say Keebler placed a pipe bomb near a BLM cabin door and pushed the detonator button repeatedly. Despite several attempts, the device did not explode.
Keebler was arrested early Wednesday morning and appeared in a U.S. District court on Thursday for attempting to blow up the Arizona Strip BLM facility. Keebler will have a detention hearing on June 29 and faces five to 20 years in federal prison if convicted.
Keebler is the commander of a citizen’s militia group based in Stockton, Utah, and was involved in the April 2014 standoff with federal land administrators over Cliven Bundy’s Bunkerville, Nevada ranch. Keebler was also an associate of militant Robert “LeVoy” Finicum, who was killed by FBI agents in Oregon in January.
Salt Lake, Utah TV station KUTV provides insight into Keebler’s violent anti-government agenda.
Keebler’s role in the bomb plot in Arizona was revealed when he assigned an undercover FBI agent to construct the pipe bomb.
Undercover FBI agents had infiltrated Keebler’s “Patriot Defense Force,” where Keebler told members that they would be training for anti-government actions. The group had earlier scouted a BLM office in Salt Lake City, but felt that the nearby commercial activity and homeless population made it unsuitable for their purposes.
Keebler told the group that facilities in “the middle of nowhere” would be targeted in order to destroy vehicles and buildings. He then assigned one of the undercover agents with the task of building the bomb.
Keebler had shown the agent a video of a six-inch pipe back in April and asked them to make more of the devices. The video showed the pipe bomb blowing up furniture, and Keebler told the undercover FBI employee that he wanted to blow up a BLM cabin in Arizona that he had previously scouted out with Finicum in October 2015.
Keebler wanted two bombs prepared: one to blow up the cabins at the Mount Trumbull, Arizona facility and the other to use against law enforcement should they be stopped enroute.
The devices provided by the undercover FBI agent were not active; however, Keebler was unaware of this fact when he planted them and attempted to detonate them. Keebler made several attempts to activate the explosive devices before leaving the site and was arrested by the FBI on Wednesday.
According to documents detailing the charges against him:
‘Keebler made it clear he didn’t plan on blowing up people for now, but he wanted his group to be prepared to escalate things, and take people out if necessary.’
Video via KUTV.com
Feature image via KUTV video