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Jury selection to begin today in terror plot trial

POSTED: January 5, 2014 9:00 p.m.
/Associated Press

Ray Adams, left, and Samuel Crump are seen in this artist rendering as he appear in a federal courtroom Nov. 2, 2011, in Gainesville.

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Jury selection begins today in the trial of two North Georgia men accused in what prosecutors call a terror plot targeting government officials and U.S. cities.

Ray Adams and Samuel Crump, both of Toccoa, face federal charges of conspiring and attempting to make a biological toxin called ricin.

The two were among four men arrested in November 2011 after surveillance by an undercover informant who infiltrated their meetings at homes, during car rides and at a Waffle House restaurant. 

Two other men, Frederick Thomas of Cleveland and Dan Roberts of Toccoa, pleaded guilty in April to conspiring to get an unregistered explosive and an illegal gun silencer. Judge Richard Story in August sentenced them to five years in prison.

The indictment filed Dec. 10 accuses Adams and Crump of attending meetings beginning on or about March 17, 2011, to discuss forming a covert militia group to plan “armed attacks on government buildings and federal government employees, including law enforcement agents.” The indictment further states the defendants “discussed their willingness to advance the militia group’s objectives by assassinating others by various means including the use of biological toxins.”

On or about April 16, 2011, Adams is accused of meeting with others and suggesting attacking government buildings with toxins and killing government employees. On or about Sept. 17, 2011, Crump is accused of discussing a plan to produce 10 pounds of ricin and disperse it in several U.S. cities. Crump said Adams would make the ricin, according to the indictment.

In October, the indictment states Crump and Adams met to discuss the ingredients and process to make the toxin from castor beans. Later that month Adams was meeting with Crump and others at his house and “took a castor bean from a bin in a storage shed containing other castor beans” and gave it to Crump. 

On or about Oct. 29, Crump told someone, who was revealed to the grand jury but kept confidential in the indictment, that lye was the final ingredient he needed and he planned to buy it, and Adams discussed with someone that he needed 1 pound of lye. Crump told someone he would begin removing the castor bean shells, according to the indictment.

Crump’s attorney, Dan Summer, argued at a November 2011 bond hearing that while a search of his client’s residence found castor beans, Crump didn’t have the means to actually create the toxin.

Adams’ brother, Ed Adams, testified at the same hearing that his brother was a retired lab technician with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where he spent much of his work studying plants and nematodes. 

He said the castor bean plants were for decorative purposes and the collection of castor beans was used for mole control.

Ray Adams’ daughter, Melissa Adams, also testified and described her father as involved in the community, charitable organizations and even playing the role of Santa Claus when he lived in Warner Robins.


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