Kalispell, Mont. -- Three men who authorities say had ties to a militia group accused of plotting to kill Montana public officials were arrested Thursday on federal firearms charges.
The arrests stem from a 2002 investigation into a group calling itself "Project 7." Authorities uncovered evidence that members had amassed an arsenal that included fully-automatic machine guns and 30,000 rounds of ammunition, and that members were plotting to assassinate police, prosecutors, judges and other state officials.
Arrested Thursday were James R. Day, 60; Steven N. Morey, 44; and John W. Slater, 54. The men were scheduled to appear in District Court in Great Falls on Friday.
The U.S. attorney's office said Day is charged with illegal possession of a machine gun and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Morey and Slater are charged with illegal possession of machine guns and possessing firearms with the serial numbers removed.
U.S Attorney Bill Mercer declined to discuss Thursday's arrests at length, saying only that they were the result of a long investigation by federal and local authorities.
David Burgert, believed to be the group's leader, pleaded guilty last year to firearms charges, and is serving two concurrent seven-year sentences.
When Burgert was arrested in early 2002, authorities said they had uncovered evidence of a plot by Project 7 to kill public officials and law enforcement officers. No one has been charged with plotting murder.