A federal grand jury returned a one-count indictment Wednesday against four central Illinois men on charges of possessing a machine gun. Three of the men are suspected of bombing a mosque in Bloomington last summer.
Michael B. Hari, 47, Michael McWhorter, 29, Joe Morris, 22, and Ellis Mack, 18, were arrested on March 13 on the weapons charge.
The same day, federal prosecutors in Minneapolis charged Hari, McWhorter and Morris, with "using an explosive device to maliciously destroy and damage" the Dar al Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington last August.
Hari, McWhorter and Morris, who are all from the east-central Illinois town of Clarence, are also suspected in the attempted bombing late last year of a clinic in Champaign, Ill. that performs abortions.
The indictment alleges that the four men possessed a machine gun from October 2017 through Feb. 27, 2018. It provides no further details about the attempted bombing of the clinic or the bombing of the mosque.
Hari is the leader of an anti-government group in east-central Illinois called the "White Rabbit Militia." The group's YouTube channel includes videos of a man wearing a ski mask who espouses conspiracy theories about the "deep state" and said it was "time for resistance."
In a video posted March 4, the masked man pleads for other militia members to help guard their community. This was several days after federal agents showed up and seized Hari's weapons, including at least three semi-automatic rifles illegally converted to fully- automatic weapons, but before authorities arrested and charged the men.
The four were scheduled to be arraigned on Monday before Magistrate Judge Eric I. Long in Urbana, Ill.