FBI Informant in Michigan Kidnapping Conspiracy Violated Federal Law, Agent Testifies

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
August 15, 2022 Updated: August 15, 2022

At least one of the FBI’s informants in the conspiracy to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer violated federal law by selling a gun to a convicted felon, according to testimony from an FBI agent on Aug. 12.

Steve Robeson, one of the informants, bought a gun while he was working as an informant, agent Christopher Long testified during the trial of two men charged with conspiring to kidnap Whitmer, WXMI-TV reported.

Federal law prohibits convicted felons from possessing or owning guns.

Robeson is a convicted felon.

Robeson purchased the Taurus 9 mm pistol from Jenny Plunk, another informant, Long testified.

It is illegal under federal law to knowingly sell or give a gun or ammunition to a felon or anybody else who cannot legally own or possess a firearm.

Robeson has already been convicted in a separate purchase, after buying a rifle from a man on Sept. 26, 2020. He was sentenced to one day in custody, with credit for time served, after pleading guilty.

Prosecutors have described Robeson as a double agent because he allegedly assisted Barry Croft Jr. and other alleged co-conspirators.

The trial happening now is for Croft and Adam Fox.

Two others, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta, were found not guilty by a jury in April.

Jurors couldn’t reach verdicts for Croft and Fox, setting up the retrial.

Another Possible Violation

Robeson and Plunk also may have violated another federal law, according to Croft’s lawyer Joshua Blanchard.

Blanchard said the pair smoked marijuana with Croft, the Detroit Free Press reported.

He also questioned Long about Plunk sharing a hotel room with Croft at one point.

Long said he had never been involved in another case where a source of one gender stayed in the same room as a target of another gender.

Long described the hotel arrangement as aimed at reducing costs.

Long said the government reimbursed Plunk about $8,000 for “travel and food,” Fox reported.

Undercover Agent Testifies

Also on Friday, FBI agent Mark Schweers, who worked undercover in the case, recounted secretly recording Fox in the basement of a Grand Rapids-area vacuum shop as Fox said that the group wanted to “flex-cuff” Whitmer after kidnapping her.

“We want her flex-cuffed on a table while we all pose and get our pictures taken like we just made the biggest drug bust in … history,” Fox said of Whitmer, laughing and using profanities. “Then you lock her … up, even if we gotta go with her.”

Prosecutors allege Fox and Croft wanted to cause national mayhem by kidnapping the Democrat governor before the 2020 election, and that they were upset about the harsh restrictions she imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Defense attorneys have said Fox and Croft were “big talkers” entrapped by undercover agents and shady informants inside their group.

Schweers said he got inside Fox’s circle by posing as an ally from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In September 2020, after a day of gun drills, the agent said about a dozen people, including two informants, drove to Elk Rapids in three vehicles to look at Whitmer’s second home and a boat launch.

“Each truck was given a separate assignment,” Schweers said.

He repeatedly said “no” when a prosecutor asked if it was the agent who proposed attacking the state Capitol, kidnapping Whitmer, or blowing up a bridge in Elk Rapids, in an effort to counter the defense’s entrapment strategy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.