April 14 (UPI) — Authorities in Germany have arrested four people accused of plotting to kidnap public figures and carry out bomb attacks in an effort to overthrow the government, the public prosecutor’s office in Koblenz announced Thursday.
The office said the individuals were part of the so-called Vereinte Patrioten (United Patriots), a right-wing group that communicates via the Telegram social media platform.
The four were also linked to the Reichsbürger (Reich Citizens) movement, which rejects the existing democratic German government, and they oppose COVID-19 restrictions, prosecutors said.
The accused, whose ages range between 41 and 55, allegedly plotted to kidnap German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, senior prosecutor Christopher do Paço Quesado told The Washington Post.
The four suspects also allegedly plotted to attack the country’s substations and power lines.
Three of those arrested were accused of “preparation of a serious crime endangering the state” and a fourth is suspected of financing terrorism, the prosecutor’s office said.
As part of its investigation, the prosecutor’s office and the State Criminal Police Office of Rhineland-Palatinate, authorities seized weapons, ammunition, more than $20,000 in euros and foreign currency, and gold and silver. They also seized mobile phones, paper documents, forged vaccination cards and COVID-19 test certificates, and other evidence of the plot.
Police arrested the suspects after posing as weapons dealers in an undercover operation, The Post reported.