Utah Militia Leader Accused Of Trying To Detonate Bomb At BLM Facility; FBI Claims Ties To LaVoy Finicum

Utah militia leader William Keebler attending the funeral for Arizona rancher LaVoy Finicum in Kanab, Utah, February 5, 2016. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, June 24, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — The leader of a Utah-based militia group was arrested by the FBI late Wednesday for the attempted bombing of a remote Bureau of Land Management facility in Mount Trumbull, Arizona.

According to a probable cause statement filed Wednesday by federal prosecutors in Salt Lake City’s U.S. District Court, William Keebler, 57, of Stockton, Utah was arrested just hours after he attempted to trigger what he thought was an explosive device placed at the door of BLM cabin.

Charging documents reveal the bomb was a dummy, built and planted by undercover FBI agents who had infiltrated Keebler’s militia group.

Prosecutors say Keebler is the commander of the Patriots Defense Force (PDF) headquartered in Stockton in Tooele County, and claim he and members of his group had been actively plotting to bomb BLM facilities, including an office at the Gateway Mall in downtown Salt Lake City. The feds say the group had even conducted reconnaissance at the site before Keebler decided to target more remote locations.

Utah militia leader William Keebler, 57, arrested and charged Wednesday June 24, 2016 with trying to detonate an explosive device outside a BLM facility in Mount Trumball, Arizona. Photo:
Utah militia leader William Keebler, 57, arrested and charged Wednesday, June 22, 2016 with trying to detonate an explosive device outside a BLM facility in Mount Trumball, Arizona. Photo: Salt Lake Co. Jail

The five-page felony complaint begins with prosecutors pointing out that Keebler was present for 13 days during the tense 2014 armed stand-off over grazing rights between the Bureau of Land Management and supporters of dissident Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy outside Bunkerville, Nevada.

Cliven, and sons Ammon, Dave and Ryan, are currently in federal custody, facing an array of weapons and conspiracy charges in connection with the 2014 standoff.

Ammon and Ryan also face federal charges for their alleged roles in the armed takeover of the Malheur Wildlife Reserve outside Burns, Oregon in January 2016.

The Oregon standoff largely ended with the death of Arizona rancher Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, who died in a hail of gunfire during a roadside confrontation with the FBI and Oregon State Police.

In Wednesday’s court filings, federal prosecutors claimed Finicum and Keebler had conducted surveillance of the Mount Trumbull, Arizona BLM facility in October 2015, along with an undercover FBI employee, who accompanied Keebler while posing as a militia member.

The idea that Finicum planned to take part in a bombing stands in stark contrast to his family and friends’ contention that the flamboyant Arizona rancher acted as a peacemaker and educator during the Oregon takeover.

Cliven Bundy’s wife, Carol, spoke to Gephardt Daily about Keebler’s arrest Thursday night. In a conversation with Bill Gephardt, Carol Bundy said Keebler was a freedom-loving patriot.

“I know him as a good, solid man that desires freedom,” she said. “I don’t know much about this incident other than what’s going around on the news and I don’t really believe the news, but I have read the indictment and I think that it was entrapment.

Carol Bundy, wife of jailed rancher, Cliven Bundy, discusses the 2014 stand-off with the BLM outside their ranch near Bunkersville, Nevada. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict
Carol Bundy, wife of jailed rancher, Cliven Bundy, discusses the 2014 stand-off with the BLM outside their ranch near Bunkersville, Nevada. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

“He had people who infiltrated his organization and they even say in the indictment they had people there that were there undercover. I think that was entrapment. That’s just my opinion. I don’t have any proof.”

The probable cause statement paints a striking portrait of the FBI’s efforts to infiltrate militia groups involved in the 2014 Bunkerville standoff. That scrutiny effort seemingly increased after the Oregon occupation.

“For several months, undercover employees (UCEs) of the FBI have been members of the PDF. The undercover employees had face-to-face interactions with Keebler, as well as cellular phone conversations and communications,” the probable cause statement said.

“The UCEs have participated in field training exercises (FTXes) organized by Keebler during which PDF members practice shooting at targets and receive instructions regarding firearms and military and survival tactics.

“Keebler has continued to recruit, organize, and prepare the PDF for the day when they can take part in anti-government action with other militia groups similar to the event in Bunkerville, Nevada,” the statement said.

Federal prosecutors said those training exercises intensified in the months following the Bunkerville showdown, with Keebler telling militia members in May of 2015 that he was putting team together “to go on the offensive.”

On March 19, 2016 Keebler told militia members the government had been allowed to harass people, but “repercussions were going to start.”

Those repercussions, according to the FBI, included plans to attack BLM facilities “in the middle of nowhere” with the goal of doing “severe damage of BLM vehicles or buildings.”

Keebler then allegedly tasked a PDF member to “build an explosive device that could disable a BLM vehicle or damage a building.” That PDF member, according to the charging documents, was an undercover FBI employee.

On April 8, 2016, the undercover employee demonstrated the power of two pipe bombs showing a video of office furniture being blown in southern Utah. Keebler was allegedly impressed by the display and asked the undercover agent to build two new explosive devices that would be twice as powerful the first.

The first bomb, Keebler said, needed to be triggered via remote control signal from a walkie talkie, and would be used in blowing up a cabin at the BLM outpost in Trumbull, Arizona.

The second bomb was to have a time fuse and be used against law enforcement officers should PDF members be stopped heading into or out of the Mount Trumbull facility.

On Monday, June 20, Keebler, and other militia members, including undercover FBI agents, left Stockton, Utah and arrived in Arizona where they once again surveilled the BLM property.

The following night, Keebler was handed a remote control detonator by one of the undercover agents a told it would set off an explosive device left at the door of one of the BLM cabins.

According to the charging documents “Keebler then pushed the detonator button multiple times in order to remotely detonate the inert explosive. After the remote detonation, Keebler departed Mount Trumbull and returned to Utah.”

Keebler was taken into custody by the FBI Wednesday morning in Nephi and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail.

So far, Keebler faces a single felony charge of attempted damage to federal property by means of fire or explosive.

A detention hearing has been scheduled for June 29, 2016.

If convicted, Keebler could face 20 years in federal prison.

25 COMMENTS

  1. “I know him as a good, solid man that desires freedom”. Yeah, don’t they all. The freedom to threaten people with guns and booby trap government property. Real solid Americans he is.

      • Oh look, another one who doesn’t understand how the whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing works in this society.

        Bet you believe with all your radicalized extremist heart that “No one has a right to judge me other than (some fictional) God.”, too. Oh, yes you do! 😉

        How about you gain some education and lose some of that breathtaking level of ignorance before you open your clap trap.

      • Innocent until proven guilty is for the jury. The fact they appear to have him red handed ordering bombs and attempting to detonate them looks pretty bad on him.

  2. +Gimondi … your downfall is listening to and believing in every thing you hear on main stream media! You’re one of those sorry, sad and pathetic people whom are being led by your nose. Grow up, do your research before you forfeit your meaninglessness life to those “authority” figures!

  3. “The Oregon standoff largely ended with the death of Arizona rancher Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, who died in a HAIL of GUNFIRE during a roadside confrontation with the FBI and Oregon State Police.”
    Seriously? A hail of gunfire? Who wrote this story? If one is going to write a blog or post a story, they certainly need to get the facts correct. The ONLY hail of gunfire came from the “authorities” … they murdered LaVoy Finicum! They fired at Finicum the moment he stepped out of the truck! I’m sick to death of people trying to take a man, that they themselves aren’t even good enough to even try on his boots … and white wash and lie about him. He’ll always be remembered as a great patriot… something alot of leftist liberals know nothing about!

    • Seriously? You criticize the spin in this writing, but from entirely the wrong angle. They give WAY too much credence to these seditionists and criminals (and a seditionist’s wife). You’re right that “hail of gunfire” is over the top. There was no “hail of gunfire” by anyone’s definition, from either side. There were three shots after he bailed from the truck. And they weren’t “the moment he stepped out of the truck” – he first ran around screaming “shoot me” like the deranged lunatic he was, and then he reached for his gun. And then the Oregon State Troopers fired three well-placed shots that took him out, which is actually what he seemed to want.

      Bundy doesn’t seem to have a clue what “entrapment” is, because is sure isn’t just having an undercover agent in the group. I sure hope that law enforcement has undercover agents in all these terrorist groups, whether they are homegrown “patriot” (gag) terrorists, or foreign terrorists. The more people we can stop before they set of bombs and hurt or kill innocent people, the better. Throw all of them in jail.

  4. Set by FBI courting a frustrated man like a distraught widow from a dysfunctional marriage.
    The FBI provided support for his verbalized frustration, provided imitation explosives for a criminal activity and helped plan the controlled environment of criminal action.
    If they did nothing, the guy would have just talked about it, but supplied the support Needed to feel comfortable in taking action…
    That is a set up and entrapment.
    But don’t worry, the feds will investigate, prosecute and judge the acts of the defendant while ignoring the actions of the undercover agents.
    They’ll likely even allow a confused witness to testify in a grand jury.

    • I suspect you look into the entrapment laws. It don’t work like it sounds like you think it does. Nor does your story sound like what the probable cause statement describes things. Maybe you should wait and see how it comes out in court.

    • Nobody detonates a bomb that is unwilling. Nobody orders bombs unless they have crossed the line to criminality. Wait till they show the camera footage and audio-he’s toast.

  5. A Timothy McVeigh wannabe. The structures he was going to detonate were filled with firefighters. In addition to his hatred of the Government and firefighters, I guess this seditionist likes forest fires.

    He needs to be put in prison for the rest of his natural life.

    As for the suicide by cop hero of the Malheur occupation, he sounds like a Terry Nichols wannabe.

    • I have known this man for years. We spent time together butchering rabbits, shooting and talking. If he were involved as they say then I believe he would have told me as we are both constitutional militia commanders in two local militias headquartered just 10 miles from each other.

      He is a decorated army veteran and was active with law enforcement and community service. I don’t buy it at all. This seems too reminiscent of that fiasco in Montana a few years back where a militia was exonerated and the FBI was found guilty of plotting and entrapment.

      • The undercover agents supplied the bombs and set up everything and then handed him a detonator. Set up big time. The first news about this the remote empty cabin was described as a federal building. I hope you screen your members thoroughly.

      • Pretty hard to explain away..especially if the Feds have audio and video. People said Tim McVeigh was a good guy too-blew up a daycare center.

  6. I’m thinking another example of PHYOPs, creating/nurturing and enabling the environment in which said conspiracy to commit crime took place. That is the unnamed informants duties. Just as in Lavoys murder, PHYOPs created the situation then they physically set it up and pointed their finger saying ” look at what he did” ” justified because Lavoy played right into their PHYOPs where the Feds nutured, enabled and took care to make sure the environment in which a man was gunned down, unarmed, in waist deep snow, with his hands up, saying shoot me, shoot me! Was gunned down , in the back mind you. We do live in America, corporate or not and you have the right to yell shoot me shoot me and not get shot ! End of story, period. For god sake there has not been one occupier’s, bundys or Lavoy that has been documented ever doing a violent act ever against anybody ever nor have they ever been convicted of a crime ever! Shit Lavoy and bundy’s never even cuss! Seriously what’s the false narrative and do you really believe all this BS put out by world order? I don’t

  7. So I guess Bill Keebler’s threats to go on the offensive against the federal government (that I read on his facebook page) were just idle talk? I guess we will find out at his trial. By the way, it isn’t entrapment for the FBI to infiltrate an organization that is suspected of committing crimes against the United States. I am assuming that we will get to see pictures taken by the undercover agents. I am especially interested in the trip made by Finicum and Keebler to the Mt. Trumbull site of the attempted bombing and just happens to be near Finicum’s grazing allotment.

  8. Ok now we’re are starting to get the big picture on all these fbi narratives that keep popping up in the news.
    The fbi picks sombody they don’t like and puts together a dog and pony show that looks, when in the news, as if the person of the target planned it all out.
    This Keebler dude was driven to a remote location in the general are of finicums ranch and handed a rc. Then arrested for the whole plot. And yes that is entrapment.

  9. What’s the difference between this and infiltrating a drug ring where the agents offer to sell narcotics. Nobody made him drive out there and no one made him try to detonate the bomb. No one made him ask for two bombs.

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