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Houston-area man arrested in undercover FBI terrorism sting

HOUSTON (Reuters) - A Houston-area man suspected of leading an anti-government group appeared in federal court on Friday to face charges of trying to rob an armored car with explosives and plotting to blow up U.S. government buildings.

Robert James Talbot Jr., 38, of Katy, Texas, was arrested by U.S. agents Thursday after an eight-month federal probe as he was about to rob an armored car with inert explosives provided to him by informants who had entered his group, according to a criminal complaint filed in a U.S. federal court in Houston.

Talbot provided a manifesto to his accomplices, which included the informants. It read: "We must rebel. Blood and bullets are the only two things that will change this world, short of divine action," the complaint said.

A lawyer for Talbot said he was only appointed on Friday and had no statement to make at this time.

"Talbot espoused his desire to recruit five to six other like-minded individuals to blow up government buildings, rob banks and kill law enforcement officers," federal officials said in a statement.

If convicted, Talbot faces up to 20 years in prison, the statement said.

The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force had been investigating Talbot since August using undercover agents and other means of surveillance, it said.

A detention hearing for Talbot is scheduled for Tuesday.

(Reporting by Andrea Lorenz; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Diane Craft)