By David Beasley
ATLANTA (Reuters) - A federal judge on Friday sentenced two Georgia militia group members to 10 years each in prison for conspiring to produce ricin, with prosecutors saying they plotted to release it from an airplane over Washington.
Samuel Crump, 71, and Ray Adams, 58, were convicted in January by a jury in Gainesville, Georgia, of conspiring to produce the toxin for use as a weapon. Prosecutors said they were motivated by anti-government sentiments.
Crump and Adams were two of four members of a north Georgia militia who were arrested in late 2011. The other two, Frederick Thomas and Dan Roberts, pleaded guilty to federal charges in 2012 and were each sentenced to five years in prison.
Authorities said they had monitored the group for months with the help of a confidential informant, who recorded conversations about the men's plans to carry out attacks against federal buildings and employees.
In court documents, Adams' attorney described the case as "a group of old men at the Waffle House who took their talk too far, but whom had neither the means nor the wherewithal to accomplish harm to anyone."
However, prosecutors said in court documents that Adams successfully extracted ricin from castor beans and stored the toxin in mason jars containing fruit preserves.
Crump discussed dropping ricin on the U.S. capital from an airplane, prosecutors said.
Although Crump and Adams faced potential life sentences, prosecutors recommended 20 years behind bars for each. Crump had previous charges of burglary and illegally manufacturing liquor while Adams had no criminal history, according to prosecutors.
(Editing by Jonathan Kaminsky and Sandra Maler)