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SATURDAY, MAY 19, 2007

6 in alleged militia plead not guilty in weapons case

BIRMINGHAM (AP) — Six men described as members of an Alabama militia pleaded not guilty to federal charges brought following the seizure of an arsenal of weapons in raids in four Alabama counties.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Armstrong Jr. set a July 9 trial date for five of the men, who were indicted on federal charges of conspiring to make a firearm.

The five — Adam Lynn Cunningham, 41, of Collinsville; Raymond K. Dillard, 46, of Collinsville; James Ray McElroy, 20, of Collinsville; Bonnell Hughes, 57, of Crossville; and Randall Garrett Cole, 22, of Gadsden — have been held without bond after federal agents said they were members of an anti-government Free Militia group and had plans to attack Mexicans.

The sixth defendant, Michael Wayne Bobo, 30, of Trussville, was arraigned separately Thursday on a charge of being an unlawful user of marijuana, illegally possessing marijuana and possessing more than 10 guns. He was released earlier on $10,000 bond into his parents' custody.

Authorities said agents recovered 130 homemade hand grenades, a grenade launcher, about 70 hand grenades rigged to be fired from a rifle, a machine gun, a short-barrel shotgun and 2,500 rounds of ammunition in the raids April 26.

Dillard's attorney, Scott Boudreaux, said the case is "not a big deal" and has been blown out of proportion by authorities.

He denied a confidential informant's claim the men were planning an attack on Mexicans.

He told The Birmingham News in a story Friday that Dillard, living in a camper valued at $400 with no electricity and no car, likely will reach a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Accused of a probation violation out of Mobile, Dillard looks forward to prison, his attorney said.

"He's ready to get to the federal penitentiary to get some dental work done," Boudreaux said.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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