Feds charge 3 men accused of prepping for martial law
Men are accused of stockpiling guns and ammunition, as well as attempting to manufacture pipe bombs and live grenades
By John Moritz
RALEIGH, N.C. — Three North Carolina men fearing a government takeover and martial law stockpiled weapons, ammunition and tactical gear while attempting to rig home-made explosives, according to charges announced by the Justice Department on Monday.
The men from Gaston County, near Charlotte, were arrested by federal authorities on Saturday after more than a month's investigation.
Walter Eugene Litteral, 50, Christopher James Barker, 41, and Christopher Todd Campbell, 30, are accused of stockpiling guns and ammunition, as well as attempting to manufacture pipe bombs and live grenades from military surplus "dummy" grenades, according to the statement by Acting U.S. District Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose and FBI Special Agent in Charge John Strong.
In addition to ammunition for a .338 caliber rifle, the statement says Litteral purchased hand-held radios, Kevlar helmets, body armor and face masks in preparation for an armed resistance to the feared military occupation.
Litteral was planning to purchase a gun along with ammunition for Barker, a convicted felon who is prohibited from having a gun, the statement said.
The FBI began its investigation in mid-June after receiving a tip about Litteral and Barker attempting to make homemade explosives, and later began investigating Campbell based on similar information that he was attempting to reconstruct grenades.
Litteral planned to test homemade explosives with Barker in Shelby, North Carolina, quoting Litteral as saying "it is going to be great," in reference to the explosion, the district attorney's statement said.
The federal conspiracy charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In addition, Campbell has been charged with a separate firearms charge punishable by 10 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
In addition to the FBI, agencies assisting in the investigation include the North Carolina Highway Patrol, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Federal Air Marshal Service as well as local police in Charlotte, Belmont, Mount Holly and Gastonia.
Full details included in the criminal complaints against the men were prepared to be released Monday after being filed in late July.
The men will remain in federal custody pending the outcome of detention hearings scheduled for Thursday. It was not immediately clear if they had attorneys.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press