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Alabama militia leader arrested

BIRMINGHAM (AP) — A reputed leader of an alleged anti-government militia has been arrested and charged with possessing an unregistered machine gun at his home in Birmingham. The arrest of William J. Hudson on Thursday came several days after five men pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Birmingham.

to various conspiracy and federal weapons charges. Federal authorities say the five are members of the North Alabama-based Free Militia led by Hudson.

Hudson, 56, had an initial appearance Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Greene. A detention hearing for Hudson is set for 2 p.m. Monday.

Eric Kehn, a special agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said Hudson is a self-appointed colonel of the militia.

“He is believed to be the leader of the group,” Kehn said.

Kehn said Hudson’s arrest stems from a continuing investigation initiated by the state fire marshal and the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department. More charges are possible, Kehn said.

Kehn said Hudson worked for South Carolina-based Hudson Telecommunications Services.

The April 26 arrest of the five others came after raids discovered hundreds of homemade grenades, an improvised rocket launcher and at least 2,500 rounds of ammunition in DeKalb, Etowah, Marshall and Jefferson counties.

Defense attorneys have maintained the case has been overblown by the government, and the accused disputed claims that they were anti-government and were targeting illegal immigrants. U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon has set a sentencing date for Sept. 11.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Whisonant said prosecutors likely will present evidence about their operations and plans at sentencing.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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