GASTON COUNTY, N.C. - Federal documents reveal the possible motivation behind a plan after three Gaston County men were accused of crafting to stockpile guns, ammunition and explosives for an attack on the U.S. government.
Walter Eugene Litteral, 50, Christopher James Barker, 41, of Gastonia and Christopher Todd Campbell, 30, of Mount Holly were arrested Saturday for conspiring to violate federal laws, governing firearms and explosive devices and related charges.
Court records showed a controversial military training exercise in Texas and other southwestern states may have been fueling their violent ideas.
The exercise is called Jade Helm, a two-month long special operations training exercise with members of U.S. Army Special Operations Command and service members from the military's four branches, according to the U.S. Army.
The exercise has drawn conspiracy theorists to believe martial law will be declared and civilian groups to keep an eye on the military in response.
Jade Helm is mentioned in a federal complaint against Barker, Campbell and Litteral.
Litteral and Campbell didn't approve of the exercise and for several months began collecting military gear like radios with throat microphones, armored vests, grenades, ammunition and assault rifles in preparation for going to war, according to court documents.
Campbell told someone he and Litteral have a base camp on 99 acres of land in Clover, South Carolina, and "intend to booby-trap the camp and draw government forces into the camp and kill them," according to court records.
Barker was later brought on board, outfitting the other two with materials to make pipe bombs, investigators said.
Barker was convicted of receiving stolen goods in 1993.
Campbell was arrested in 2011 for kidnapping, aggravated assault and marijuana possession but the charges were later pleaded down to a misdemeanor assault. Litteral served in the U.S. Marines for 14 years.
A tipster called the FBI about their alleged plan. This weekend, agents raided Capones Tattoo Parlor in Belmont which Litteral owns and Campbell operates. Two other homes were also raided before the men were arrested.
The federal complaints also claim the three were sharing prescription pain killers with one another while working out their plan.
Campbell’s fiancé told Channel 9 she stands behind him 100 percent.
She said she had no comments about the investigation but she appreciates the thoughts and prayers she has received.
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