(KALISPELL, Montana) - A Montana militia organization was planning to assassinate as many judges, prosecutors and police officers as possible, amassing a weapons cache that included 30,000 rounds of ammunition, a targeted sheriff said.
``It all certainly supports the theory that there was going to be big trouble,'' Flathead County Sheriff Jim Dupont said Wednesday. ``The last I heard, it didn't take 30,000 rounds of ammo to kill a turkey.''
He said the group, which called itself ``Project Seven,'' hoped to kill enough officials to force the state to call in the National Guard. The militia then hoped to kill enough National Guard troops to catch the federal government's attention, beginning an unchecked escalation, Dupont said.
Among the items in the group's arsenal were fully automatic weapons, survival equipment, booby traps, body armor and explosives materials, Dupont said. The militia group also collected ``intelligence files'' on the officials and their families, Dupont said.
Dupont said charges were expected, though it was unclear how many people belong to the organization.
He said the group was headed by 38-year-old Dave Burgert, who was arrested earlier this month after an armed standoff that lasted nearly seven hours.
Burgert had been awaiting trial on charges he assaulted a police officer in January 2001. He also faced charges of obstructing a police officer in a November 2001 incident.
Dupont said Burgert faked his own death and disappeared as a judge was ordering he be taken off house arrest and placed in jail. He was nabbed after an informant member of Project Seven led officers to the home of Tracy Brockway, where Burgert was hiding out.
Burgert and Brockway remain jailed.
Investigators said a search of property the two were sharing turned up ``hit lists'' containing the names of local law officers, a prosecutor and judges. The list included addresses, phone numbers and information on spouses and children. Dupont said he was among those on the list.
The group has circulated a ``wanted poster'' for the informant, but the man is safe and an investigation is under way by national law enforcement agencies, Dupont said.
Brockway, 32, is charged with obstruction of justice for harboring Burgert. She also is suspected of using her job as a cleaning woman at the Whitefish Police Department to gather information about officers and their families.
The militia's name refers to Flathead County license plates, which all begin with the number seven. A similar cell, called Project 56, is believed to be operating in adjacent Lincoln County.