Man Indicted In Plot to Bomb Austin IRS Center Pleads Innocent
TYLER, Texas (AP) _ A militant tax protester accused of scheming to blow up an Internal Revenue Service building pleaded innocent on Wednesday.
Charles Ray Polk appeared before U.S. Magistrate Harry McKee in handcuffs, then was returned to the jail where he has been since his July 28 arrest. Jury selection was set for Nov. 6.
Polk, an unemployed car salesman, is accused of plotting to set off remote-control activated plastic explosives inside the IRS regional service center in Austin, where about 4,200 people work.
The attack was planned for September and other IRS centers were targeted as well, said Les Martz, agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms office in Dallas.
The charges against Polk range from illegal weapons possession to the attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. He faces up to life in prison and a $1 million fine if convicted.
Undercover agents approached Polk in April after learning that he had illegally purchased 60 weapons through a third party, U.S. Attorney Mike Bradford said. Polk allegedly asked the agents about plastic explosives and for help in blowing up a building, Bradford said.
Polk, 45, has no criminal record. Authorities said he has some connection to anti-government militia groups, but the nature of the relationship wasn’t clear.
NBC News reported that the IRS had placed tax liens on his property and he quit his job at a car dealership in February after the government garnished his wages.
Authorities believe another person may have been involved but Bradford said the alleged plot isn’t connected to the April 19 Oklahoma City federal building bombing.