By now, it’s no secret that the federal government invaded Texas on the 15th of July. It’s been 170 years since the US last annexed the state and because you have to do these things again every so often just to keep everyone honest (it’s kind of like renewing your wedding vows), Washington cooked up a set of "training exercises" called Jade Helm 15 and proceeded to launch a two-month Lone Star lockdown.
Or at least that’s what some Texans were led to believe, and while we won’t speculate on the extent to which that narrative borders on the absurd, we would note that the US Spec Ops Command probably should have realized that showing people a map which identifies the state (painted bright red) as “hostile” would stir up trouble amongst those who are naturally inclined to distrust big government. Fears only grew after Governor Greg Abbott called up the state guard and the entire ordeal officially became a circus after Chuck Norris, apparently forgetting that Walker Texas Ranger isn’t a real person, warned the federal government that Jade Helm looked like it would come “too near to the backdoor” of his ranch.
While Twitter lit up with Jade Helm jokes on the first official day of the exercises, not everyone was laughing. Among those who took the federal takeover "threat" seriously were the gentlemen pictured below, Walter Eugene Litteral, Christopher James Barker, and Christopher Todd Campbell.
The three men, who are not from Texas (or any other state involved in Jade Helm for that matter), but in fact reside some 1,400 miles away from the “front lines” in North Carolina, allegedly "had a deadly plot to lure government forces into a trap," in retaliation for the Pentagon’s supposed plan to “use the armed forces to impose martial law in the United States,” The Washington Post reports.
Ironically, the owner of the military surplus store where the men bought some of their supplies ultimately turned them in to authorities. Here’s WaPo with the story:
In January, the informant relocated the military surplus store to Gaston County, N.C. — just a few doors down from where Campbell operated a tattoo parlor. Almost immediately, Campbell told the informant of his “anti-government” views, according to federal court documents.
A month later, Campbell introduced the informant to Litteral. The two men told the informant that they believed “that the federal government intended to use the armed forces to impose martial law in the United States, which they and others would resist with violent force,” the court documents said.
Specifically, they told the informant that the Jade Helm exercises planned in five states were a cover for the government’s plot to impose martial law. The exercises were scheduled to be conducted from July 15 to Sept. 15, and Litteral made it clear that he needed the military-grade items no later than July 15.
By April, months before the training operation was scheduled, the purchases from the military surplus store began — all of them paid for in cash, according to court documents. There were plans, the documents allege, to make pipe bombs, explosive tennis balls covered in nails and coffee cans filled with ball bearings that would be detonated with a shot from a sniper rifle.
And by mid-June, those plans were beginning to crystallize.
Here the 3 places raided by FBI over weekend – 2 homes, 1 tattoo parlor. All within 4 miles apart. 3 men arrested pic.twitter.com/BRhN5ZLXxy
— Liz Foster (@lizfosterWSOC9) August 3, 2015
According to the documents, Litteral was heavily armed with both legally and illegally obtained weapons. If government agents came looking for him at his home, Litteral allegedly told the informant in a phone conversation, he would be ready.
"Lemme tell you something, I gonna have my f——- house rigged up; these motherf—— come try to come in my house, it’s gonna go off," he said, according to the documents.
The documents indicated that Litteral told another person in a phone conversation: "I got a f—— .45 beside my bed. I got a .45 and a 9-mil in my truck. I’ve got a 9-mil and a .380, or a .380 in her car. Safe full of weapons. You know what? Every time I open up this damn safe, I mean I’ve got, I’ve got at least 30 weapons that I can see and some tucked all the way in the back back."
Yes, weapons "tucked all the way in the back back", and as the court documents go on to detail, the men intended to bring those and a whole lot of other weapons to the "front front" at an encampment in Clover, South Carolina where they would ambush US soldiers. Here's a bit more from AP:
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 unsealed criminal complaints released Monday.
The close to 60 pages of information compiled by federal authorities since July include allegations Litteral planned to makes explosives out of tennis balls covered in nails and coffee cans filled with ball bearings.
According to the documents, both Litteral and Campbell spoke openly about their opposition to Jade Helm 15, a series of ongoing special forces training missions in several Southwestern states that has drawn suspicion from residents who fear it is part of a planned military takeover.
In addition to ammunition for a long-range .338 caliber rifle, the authorities said 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 also planning to purchase an assault rifle along with ammunition for Barker, whose past convictions for possession of stolen goods and cocaine barred him from possessing a gun, according to the documents.
The cocaine conviction also barred Barker from purchasing ammunition, but that apparently did not stop him from buying a "large capacity magazine" and bullets for the rifle with his own debit card. Here's the DoJ:
In addition to purchasing the military supplies, Litteral also tried to purchase a firearm and ammunition for Barker. According to court records, Litteral filled out the required form with his own information, even though the gun was intended for Barker. Using his own debit card, Barker purchased ammunition and a large capacity magazine for the gun. Barker’s prior criminal felony convictions prohibit him from purchasing or possessing a firearm or ammunition.
Litteral, Barker, and Campbell are of course innocent until proven guilty, but we imagine they don't have much faith in the US legal system.