‘Jade Helm’ plot uncovered in North Carolina, FBI says
FBI documents unsealed Monday say the three residents of Gaston County bought guns and ammunition and attempted to build explosive devices, all with intent of killing US soldiers they believed were coming to establish martial law. The three were identified as Walter Litteral, 50, Christopher Barker, 41, and Christopher Campbell, 30.
The FBI claims Litteral planned to make explosive devices out of tennis balls covered in nails and coffee cans filled with ball bearings. He also purchased ammunition for a 338 caliber rifle, hand-held radios, Kevlar helmets, body armor and face masks, which the authorities say were to be used in “armed resistance to the feared military occupation,” according to the AP.
According to court documents, 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.”
Litteral and Campbell reportedly began buying military equipment in April in anticipation of Jade Helm 15, a series of controversial military drills in the US Southwest that many believe could be a dress rehearsal for martial law.
Suspicions have been fueled by military maps designating Texas, Utah and a portion of California as “hostile,” the military’s refusal to allow media access to the exercise, and vague official language used to describe the drill.
According to US army documents, the exercises need to place soldiers “outside the normal support mechanisms” and force them to “adapt to unfamiliar terrain social and economic conditions” and an “opportunity to work with civilians to gain their trust and an understanding of the issues.”
FBI’s investigation of Barker, Campbell and Litteral began in mid-June, as the informant claimed the men were attempting to assemble homemade explosives and reconstruct grenades. According to the agency documents, Litteral was also trying to obtain a rifle and ammunition for Barker, ineligible to own firearms due to previous convictions for possession of stolen goods and cocaine.
The three men face a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for federal conspiracy charges. Campbell faces another firearms charge for alleged bomb-making, punishable by 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Jade Helm began on July 15 and is scheduled to wrap up in September. So far the only incident reported was a shooting on Tuesday, when two men in a red pick-up truck opened fire at a group of US Army soldiers at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, one of the training sites for the exercise. No one was injured, and no arrests have been made.