Federal prosecutors say a Tooele County man placed a pipe bomb against the door of a BLM cabin and pushed the button on a remote detonator multiple times, with no result.
His mistake? He’d unwittingly assigned an undercover FBI agent to build the bomb.
William Keebler, 57, of Stockton, was arrested early Wednesday morning in Nephi and appeared Thursday in U.S. District Court, charged by federal prosecutors with attempting to blow up federal property at an Arizona Strip BLM facility that he had allegedly scouted with Robert LaVoy Finicum.
Keebler is being held in Salt Lake County jail and will have a June 29 detention hearing. He faces five to 20 years in a federal prison if convicted of the charge.
Charging documents say Keebler is the commander of a citizen militia group headquartered in Stockton. He was present at the April 2014 standoff with federal land administrators near the Bunkerville, Nev., ranch of Cliven Bundy, and he was an associate of Finicum, who was killed in late January by Oregon state police after he tried to avoid their roadblock in eastern Oregon amid an occupation of a federal wildlife refuge. The Tribune wrote about Keebler in December 2011, when he worked as an outfitter guiding coyote sport hunters.
Undercover FBI employees became members of Keebler’s “Patriots Defense Force,” charging documents say, and trained for an “anti-government action” where, Keebler told members, they would be “going on the offensive.”
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