Forged documents reached authorities

Huge weapons cache subsequently found stored in Texas

April 17, 2005|By Gail Gibson

The case began with a package of forged government identification records sent to New York but wrongly delivered to an address in New Jersey. That mix-up produced one of the most serious, if little noticed, domestic terror probes since the Oklahoma City bombing.

Inside the package was a collection of identification documents - including Department of Defense and United Nations badges - each with varying names, but all featuring a photograph of the same man. According to court records, the package also included a return address for William Joseph Krar and a letter from him to the intended recipient.

"Hope this package gets to you O.K.," wrote Krar, who had long ties to the antigovernment militia movement in New England. "We would hate to have this fall into the wrong hands."

So it was that federal authorities caught up with Krar and discovered in the spring of 2003 the vast stash of weapons he kept in a Texas storage facility, including remote-control bombs disguised as suitcases, 60 functional pipe bombs, three machine guns, a homemade land mine and some of the same antigovernment reading material once favored by Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

The most alarming find: what authorities described as a homemade sodium-cyanide bomb, crafted from a metal military ammunition box, 800 grams of sodium cyanide and vials of hydrochloric acid. Investigators said Krar had enough sodium cyanide to kill everyone in a space the size of a high school gym or small civic center, potentially hundreds of people.

Krar's case branched from local police to the FBI and demonstrated how increased cooperation after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks has helped thwart domestic threats as well. But the case, which generated few headlines outside of Texas and no national news conferences, also showed that, amid the war in Iraq and the focus on foreign extremists, even major domestic terror investigations can draw little attention.

"I don't know how much money we spent looking for chemical weapons in Iraq, but we had one right here, in Tyler, Texas," said Mark Pitcavage, director of fact-finding for the Anti-Defamation League.

Krar, 64, pleaded guilty last year to possessing a dangerous chemical weapon and is serving 11 years in prison. Federal prosecutors have said they still don't know exactly what Krar intended to do with the cache of weapons, although he had operated in the past as a gun dealer and supplier for members of antigovernment organizations.

The intended recipient of the fake documents, a New Jersey Militia member named Edward Feltus, told authorities he had asked Krar for the forged records because they would allow him to "travel freely" in the United States in the event of a future disaster or government crackdown. Feltus later pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the transportation of falsified documents.

"For the record, I'm neither a terrorist or a separatist," Krar said at his sentencing. "I've never desired to hurt anyone or the country that I love."

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