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Utah man pleads guilty in bomb plot against police station


SALT LAKE CITY » A Utah man accused of wanting to kill police officers and blow up a police station to trigger an uprising against the government has pleaded guilty to a felony charge.

John Huggins entered the plea to possession of an unregistered destructive device in Salt Lake City federal court last week in a plea agreement. In return, prosecutors dropped felony charges of possession of explosives by a restricted person and unlawful distribution of information about making explosive devices.

Huggins faces up to 10 years in prison when he’s sentenced May 14, the Standard-Examiner newspaper of Ogden reported.

He was arrested in July after police received a tip from a "concerned citizen" that Huggins talked about assassinating two officers and blowing up the police station in his hometown of Tremonton, which is about 75 miles north of Salt Lake City. He also threatened to blow up bridges and other infrastructure to prevent emergency responders from being able to help, according to court records.

Shortly before his arrest, Huggins, 47, met with an undercover FBI agent and confidential police informant at a restaurant in Tremonton. During the meeting, he’s accused of offering to build and sell explosive devices and bomb-making material.

A homemade grenade-like device constructed from an energy-drink bottle was found in his home, investigators said. Huggins also had explosive chemicals, schematics for bombs and videos of explosions, court records show.

"It was a legitimate device that could have very easily been made to cause some significant damage and injury to people," Tremonton Police Chief David Nance said shortly after Huggins’ arrest.

Nance has described Huggins as a survivalist who once attempted to establish a militia.

Huggins’ run-ins with Tremonton police date back more than a decade. In 2001 and 2002, Huggins was convicted of assault charges and discharging a firearm toward a building. In 2007, a police task force discovered a homemade pipe bomb while arresting him on drug violations. Huggins pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor charges of drug possession, illegally possessing a handgun and recklessness with an incendiary device. He also faced drug-related charges from 2013.

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