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BELMONT, NC (WBTV) – Three people have been charged with having materials for making bombs after an FBI investigation over the weekend involving a Belmont tattoo parlor and a Mount Holly home.
Federal agents descended on two Gaston County properties Saturday afternoon and a third location was reportedly searched on Sunday.
Monday, three men, including Christopher Campbell, were charged by the federal government with being possession of bomb making materials and conspiracy to obtain bomb making materials. Fifty-year-old Walter Eugene Litteral and 41-year-old Christopher James Barker were also charged.
According to the affidavits, law enforcement received information in mid-June that Litteral and Barker were attempting manufacture explosive or destructive devices. A month later, investigators say they were told Campbell was reconstructing live grenades from “dummy grenades” sold legally as military artifacts.
Litteral, Campbell and others believed that the United States government intended to use the armed forces to impose martial law, which they planned to “resist with violent force,” according to the government.
Litterral reportedly began purchasing numerous military equipment in preparation for the alleged attack, including ammunition for a .338 caliber rifle, handheld radios with throat microphones for communication, military issue Kevlar helmets, body armor vests and balaclavas (a form of cloth headgear designed to expose only parts of the face).
According to investigators, Litteral and Campbell wanted to make pipe bombs and grenades and already had some of the needed components. Barker reportedly gave Litteral pipe fittings, which are needed to make pipe bombs. He also talked about testing the bombs in Shelby.
In addition to purchasing the military supplies, Litteral also tried to purchase a firearm and ammunition for Barker.
According to court records, Litteral filled out the required form with his own information, even though the gun was intended for Barker. Using his own debit card, Barker purchased ammunition and a large capacity magazine for the gun. Barker’s prior criminal felony convictions prohibit him from purchasing or possessing a firearm or ammunition.
Campbell owns the Capone’s Tattoo Parlor on Wilkinson Boulevard, which is the tattoo parlor searched by the FBI Saturday. Campbell was reportedly not inside the business during the raid.
A source tells WBTV that Campbell lives in a Mount Holly home that police and the FBI were raiding. The FBI’s Evidence Response Team could be seen taking pictures of cars outside of the house.
“We did hear fire in the hole about four times and a small explosion of some sort. Apparently, they brought out an older woman, a younger woman and two babies at the same time,” a neighbor said.
After their initial appearance in court Monday, the three men are expected to remain in federal custody pending their detention hearings, which have been set for Thursday.
The charge of conspiracy to violate laws governing firearms and explosive devices carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Campbell is also charged with receiving, possessing and making a firearm – which definition includes a destructive device – for which the maximum penalty is 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) of which the North Carolina Highway Patrol, the Federal Air Marshal Service, the Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department are members.
Copyright 2015 WBTV.