Skip to main content
Press Release

Expatriate Charged with Making Multiple Threats to Kill U.S. Senator and U.S. Marines

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. – Eric Charles Welton, an American citizen living in Thailand, was arrested last Thursday on a criminal complaint charging that he threatened a U.S. senator and members of their staff in September of 2021. He is also alleged to have made threats against U.S. Marines and others working the U.S. Consulate in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in late 2022.  Welton was arrested at the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport as he returned to the United States from overseas by FBI Charlotte and FBI Atlanta Special Agents.

“Our elected representatives and the public servants who staff their offices must be free to do the people’s work without threats of violence,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Easley.  “Violent threats against our democratically elected representatives do not just erode our civil discourse – they can undermine our democracy.  We will hold accountable anyone who threatens violence targeting our bedrock institutions.”

“It is unacceptable to make violent threats against anyone. And when threats are directed at elected officials or members of the armed forces it can impact their ability to serve our country effectively,” said Robert M. DeWitt, the Special Agent in Charge of FBI Charlotte.

According to the complaint, Welton, age 51, made multiple harassing and intimidating calls to the offices of Republican elected officials and associated organizations in the United States due to a large number of unsolicited political emails he claimed he was receiving.  In September of 2021, he allegedly spoke with a staff member at the Senator’s Raleigh office and, among other things, threatened to show up and “put a bullet through each of [their] heads.”  The complaint also states that Welton threatened to cut off the hands of the individual that had decided to send him the emails.

The complaint further alleges that in October and November of 2022, Welton began making threats against U.S. Marines and others working at the U.S. Consulate in Thailand.  In one voicemail, Welton allegedly stated that he was “going to kill a bunch of Marines” due to anger over an immigration issue.

Welton is currently charged with one count of threatening a federal official, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 115(a)(1)(B).  If convicted, he faces up to ten years in prison.  Additional charges may follow.

Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, made the announcement. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the case, and the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service provided significant assistance to return him to the United States.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori Warlick  is prosecuting the case.

A complaint is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.


Updated June 6, 2023

Violent Crime