WIQI News

On Tuesday, FBI agents arrested four rural East Central Illinois men on a criminal complaint that charges them with possession of a machine gun.

The men arrested and charged are: Michael B. Hari, 47; Joe Morris, 22; Michael McWhorter, 29; and, Ellis Mack, 18, all of Clarence, a rural community approximately 35 miles north of Champaign-Urbana.

FBI agents arrested Hari Tuesday morning as he was traveling to a court appearance in Ford County for a hearing in an alleged assault case pending against Hari.

Hari and Morris made their initial appearances in federal court Tuesday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Eric I. Long. McWhorter and Mack will make their respective initial appearances at a date to be determined by the U.S. Clerk of the Court.

The arrest and charges were announced by FBI special agent in Charge Sean Cox of the Springfield Division and U.S. Attorney John E. Childress.

The affidavit filed in support of the complaint alleges that the four men were in possession of assault rifles from October 2017 to March 2018. According to the affidavit, law enforcement agents have gathered evidence to indicate that Hari, McWhorter and Morris were responsible for the bombing of a mosque in Bloomington, Minn., on Aug. 5, 2017, and the attempted bombing of the Women’s Health Practice in Champaign on Nov. 7, 2017.

Tuesday morning, law enforcement agents executed search warrants at the home of Hari’s parents in Paxton. According to the affidavit, Hari often stays at his parents’ home because his home has no running water or electricity. A search warrant was also executed at a store/office owned by Hari, located at 100 S. Main Road in Clarence.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Springfield Division, FBI Minneapolis Division, University of Illinois Police Department, Ford County Sheriff’s Office, Champaign Police Department, Illinois State Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are continuing the investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jason M. Bohm and Eugene L. Miller are representing the government on behalf of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, working in coordination with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota.

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