The FBI has arrested five members of a West Virginia militia group on charges they plotted to blow up a new FBI fingerprint records facility outside Clarksburg, W.Va., law enforcement sources said Friday.
The five members of the West Virginia Mountaineer Militia were in FBI custody in Clarksburg, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.The five were arrested on charges they plotted to place explosives near the FBI facility in Clarksburg, which the bureau recently opened as its fingerprint records center.
In use for more than a year, the facility houses fingerprint records that the FBI has collected from police departments nationwide. The identification division provides information to state and local police departments about wanted criminals.
Located 120 miles south of Pittsburgh, the $200 million Criminal Justice Information Services Division complex eventually will employ 2,600 people. It also will house the National Criminal Information Center and the Uniform Crime Reporting Center, FBI units now located in Washington.
The fingerprint identification facility will use computer programs to enable fingerprints to be converted into electronic images. This will enable the FBI to perform fingerprint identification in a matter of hours instead of weeks or months.
Automated criminal record-keeping will also be available for background checks whether it is a person seeking a job at a day-care center or someone trying to buy a handgun.
Surrounding hills naturally hide the facility from public view and federal officers stop all cars at two main entrances.
The National Crime Information Center receives more than a million inquiries, and the fingerprint center receives 50,000 pieces of mail.
Most of the workers at the center are West Virginians. Most employees in Washington decided against transferring to the facility.
Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., was instrumental in attaching language to legislation that forced the FBI to move the facility to his home state.