WILMINGTON, N.C. – A Duplin County man has been charged in an indictment for teaching another individual how to make and use an explosive, knowing that the individual intended to use that instruction in the attempted murder of federal law enforcement, in violation of 18 USC 1114, all in violation of Title 18, USC Sections 842(p)(2)(B) and 844. Christopher Arthur, 38, residing in Mount Olive, North Carolina, was arrested on January 22, 2022, and was presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert B. Jones, Jr., today.
According to court documents, in 2018 the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) received information that another individual was attempting to organize and recruit for a militia group and was preparing to engage against the United States Government. On May 27, 2020, that individual was stopped by law enforcement in New York and was shot and killed following a two-hour police pursuit and an exchange of gunfire. During the execution of a search warrant on his vehicle, law enforcement located three improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Numerous additional IEDs and firearms were found in the search of his residence along with multiple Tackleberry Solutions tactical instructional manuals which named as the author Christopher Arthur. A review of the individual’s cell phone indicated that he had attended training with Arthur at Tackleberry Solutions in Mount Olive for multiple days in March of 2020.
According to the search warrant affidavit for Arthur’s residence, on March 19, 2021, the FBI covertly requested a free PDF document from Tackleberry Solutions. After a short period of time, an email was received from Arthur indicating that he had to keep parts of the information in the PDF off of the internet since explosives were such a touchy topic. Arthur also gave his phone number and mailing address. Arthur then began communicating via phone regarding the manuals.
On May 5, 2021, Arthur, at Arthur’s residence in Mount Olive, explained how to properly place IEDs through one’s property, the importance of creating a fatal funnel, the setup and use of remote-activated firearms, and how to evade arrest after killing members of law enforcement – all after learning the recipient of the explanation intended to kill federal law enforcement who might come to his home. At the conclusion, Arthur demonstrated how to make components of IEDs, to include tripwire switches and improvised initiators. Once he was finished demonstrating how to make the components, Arthur provided them to the recipient of his training.
Subsequent to Arthur’s arrest, a search warrant was executed at his home. During the search, multiple IEDs, an IED striker plate, an electronic IED trigger and other IED components, a pistol suppressor, bulk gunpowder, and mixed Tannerite explosive were recovered.
“According to these charges, the defendant provided someone with training on explosive devices knowing that person intended to use that information to murder or attempt the murder of law enforcement,” said United States Attorney Michael Easley. “This type of behavior is criminal, it is unacceptable, and it will be prosecuted to the fullest extent. Here in Eastern North Carolina, we will protect the brave men and women of law enforcement who are sworn to protect us. The Justice Department will aggressively investigate and prosecute those whose actions would further violence against those in uniform. Our public servants in law enforcement deserve nothing less.”
"Law enforcement officers are being feloniously killed in the line of duty at an alarming rate. 2021 saw the most officers murdered since the 9/11 attacks. The behavior alleged in this indictment, training someone in methods of how to kill or injure law enforcement, is both serious and frightening," said Robert R. Wells, FBI Special Agent in Charge.
The defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 if convicted.
Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the Raleigh Police Department and Cary Police Department are investigating the case.
An indictment is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.