Briefcase Bombers Caught
- Feds: What did Texas couple plan to do with cyanide?
January 30, 2004
NOONDAY, Texas (AP) William Krar and Judith Bruey assembled a
frightening arsenal in three rented storage units in this East Texas
town, and federal authorities are trying to figure out why.
Authorities found nearly half a million rounds of ammunition, 60
pipe bombs, machine guns, and remote-controlled bombs disguised as
A raid in April found nearly two pounds of a cyanide compound and
other chemicals that could create enough poisonous gas to kill
everyone inside a space as large as a big-chain bookstore or a small-
town civic center.
Authorities also discovered nearly half a million rounds of
ammunition, more than 60 pipe bombs, machine guns, silencers and
remote-controlled bombs disguised as briefcases, plus pamphlets on
how to make chemical weapons, and anti-Semitic, anti-black and anti-
The findings have led to one of the most extensive domestic-
terrorism investigations since the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
Federal investigators believe conspirators may remain free, and one
question lingers: What did the couple intend to do with the weapons?
"There's no other reason for anyone to possess that type of device
other than to kill people," said Brit Featherston, a federal
prosecutor and the government's anti-terrorism coordinator in Texas'
eastern district. "The arsenal found in those searches had the
capability of terrorizing a lot of people."
In November, Krar, 62, pleaded guilty to possessing a dangerous
chemical weapon. He could go to prison, but the law does not specify
a minimum or maximum. Bruey, 54, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to
possess illegal weapons and could get up to five years in prison.
The couple remain in jail. Sentencing is expected sometime in
Krar and Bruey moved to a house in Tyler from New Hampshire about
two years ago, though federal authorities do not know why.
They soon rented space at Noonday Storage and for more than a year
visited their units each morning, spending hours unloading U-hauls
of military surplus items or picking through piles of bathing suits
and beer coolers they said they resold at shops and markets.
"We never had any problems out of them and never suspected anything
out of them," said Teresa Staples, who owns the storage business in
this community of 500 people about 100 miles southeast of Dallas.
A mistake led the FBI to Krar two years ago.
Krar mailed a package to a self-described militia member in New
Jersey. The package included several phony documents U.N. and
Pentagon ID cards, a Social Security card, birth certificates from
three states and a note: "We would hate to have this fall into the
But that was exactly what happened.
The package was mistakenly delivered to a man in New York City, who
notified authorities. It was traced back to Krar, and the intended
recipient, Edward Feltus, 56, of Old Bridge, N.J., pleaded guilty to
aiding and abetting the transportation of false identification
documents. He could get up to 15 years in prison.
Krar's attorney, Tonda Curry, acknowledges that Krar owned illegal
weapons, but said there is no evidence he planned to use them.
"It was not a situation where they were at arm's reach, ready to
respond to some invasion. They were miles away stored," she
said. "Nothing I've seen from the government or from him indicates
that the United States as a country had any reason to be afraid of
But federal investigators believe Krar's past behavior indicates his
potential for domestic terrorism.
In 1985, Krar was arrested in New Hampshire for impersonating a law
enforcement officer, according to the FBI. He stopped paying federal
income taxes in 1989. His ties to New Hampshire's white supremacist
and anti-government militia groups in the mid-1990s were
investigated by federal agents.
Firefighters battling a blaze at a New Hampshire storage building in
June 2001 discovered thousands of rounds of ammunition and four
guns. Some belonged to Krar.
An employee at another New Hampshire storage company told
investigators she feared Krar because he was "wicked anti-American,"
often ranting about government corruption and how he hated police
officers and Americans in general because they were "money-hungry
grubs," according to an FBI affidavit.
Last January, a Tennessee state trooper stopped Krar for a traffic
violation and found in his rental car two handguns, a grenade,
handcuffs, a gas mask, 16 knives and 40 wine-like bottles filled
with an unknown substance.
Most curious were handwritten notes that listed "meeting places,"
including hospitals or Wal-Marts in Pennsylvania, Virginia,
Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana. The notes also outlined a code
for referring to the level of danger, from "Lots of light storms are
predicted" to "Tornadoes are expected in our area Things very hot.
Lay low or change your travel plans."
Krar told investigators the code was part a plan to help his
girlfriend escape her ex-husband.
Despite the warning signs, Krar was not fully investigated until the
fake documents went to the wrong address. And even that red flag may
have been ignored if not for the heightened attention after Sept.
11, Featherston said.
Some contend the government is so focused on foreign terror threats
that it overlooks domestic dangers.
"I have no doubt whatsoever that had these men been affiliated with
al-Qaeda, we would have heard more," said Daniel Levitas, author of
the book "The Terrorist Next Door: The Militia Movement and the
Radical Right." "There is something of a blind spot within the
Justice Department in Washington, D.C., when it comes to the violent
potential of America's own homegrown version of al-Qaeda."
Featherston said hundreds of subpoenas were issued and the Texas
case was investigated just as thoroughly as foreign cases.
"There's international terrorism and domestic terrorism, but they're
all terrorism," he said. "I don't care which one it is or what color
their skin is. If their intention is to do harm to the citizens of
this country, then all the resources necessary from the local level
to the federal level will be put into the case."
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