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Press Release

Marion County Man Indicted On Arson And Destructive Device Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Ocala, Florida – Acting United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow announces the return of a five-count

charging Mark Charles Barnett (49, Ocala) with attempted arson, possession of a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence, possession of a destructive device by a convicted felon, and two counts of unlawful possession/manufacturing of a National Firearms Act weapon. If convicted on all counts, Barnett faces up to life in federal prison.


According to court documents, Barnett offered a confidential source (CS) $10,000 to place improvised explosive bombs in Target retail stores along the east coast of the United States. Beginning in January 2017, Barnett created at least 10 of the destructive devices, disguised in food-item packaging, and delivered them to the CS on February 9, 2017. Barnett then asked the CS to place the explosive devices on the store shelves from New York to Florida. Barnett told the CS that he had purchased options on Target stock and expected to make a lot of money from the resulting plunge in the company’s stock price.


Rather than placing the destructive devices on store shelves, however, the CS surrendered them to authorities. Subsequent searches of Barnett’s home by federal agents revealed components consistent with those used to create the destructive devices and articles describing stock market investments. Barnett, a convicted felon, had been conditionally released from state prison in 2013 following multiple convictions for sexual assault, kidnapping, and grand theft.


An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.


This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Florida Department of Law Enforcement; the Florida Department of Corrections - Probation and Parole; the Marion County Sheriff’s Office; and the Ocala Police Department. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert E. Bodnar, Jr.

Updated May 11, 2017

Indictment   [PDF, ]
Firearms Offenses