According to the federal prosecutor, Michael McWhorter melted railroad tracks in Effingham, which could have caused serious injuries.
The men arrested and charged are: Michael B. Hari, 47; Joe Morris, 22; Michael McWhorter, 29; and, Ellis Mack, 18, all of Clarence, a rural community approximately 35 miles north of Champaign-Urbana, according to information from the Department of Justice, United States Attorney John E. Childress, Central District of IL. All three are from Clarence, a community of less than 100 people some 35 miles (56 kilometers) north of Champaign. According to the affidavit, law enforcement agents have gathered evidence to indicate that Hari, McWhorter and Morris were responsible for the bombing of a mosque in Bloomington, Minn., on August 5, 2017, and the attempted bombing of the Women's Health Practice in Champaign, on November 7, 2017. Five people were inside at the time, but no one was injured.
The affidavit describes a tangled, hateful criminal enterprise in which the four men from a rural part of IL, more than 500 miles from Bloomington, Minn., hoarded high-powered guns, made bombs and committed robberies at a drug dealer's house and three Wal-Mart Stores.
Hari is a former Ford County, IL sheriff's deputy who ran an unsuccessful campaign for sheriff of the same county on the Libertarian ticket in 1998.
Ellis "EJ" Mack, 18, was also arrested on charges of possession of a machine gun, but has not been charged in the mosque bombing.
Hari is said to have promised to pay Morris and McWhorter $18,0000 for carrying out the attack.
McWhorter told investigators that he threw a pipe bomb into the mosque, according to the complaint.
In January, another informant stated that these men were responsible for the Minnesota mosque and attempted abortion clinic bombings.
Minneapolis FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Bone believes the Muslim community is no longer under any threat from this specific incident. He claimed that it was Mr. Hari's idea to target the mosque and that Mr. Morris had smashed the mosque's window with a sledgehammer, according to the affidavit.
Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Muslim advocacy and civil liberties group Council on American-Islamic Relations, welcomed news of the arrests. "Why this one out of the 75 mosques in Minnesota?" said Asad Zaman, an imam, and Muslim Society of Minnesota executive director.
"That bombing that took place last summer was a tragedy for all Minnesotans", U.S. Attorney Gregory Brooker said, adding that it remains a top priority for law enforcement.