Tucked among the explosives and guns investigators found in the possessions of an accused militant killed by police in 2020 were several instruction manuals penned by someone named Christopher Arthur, federal prosecutors said.
The author, they discovered, is the 38-year-old owner of a North Carolina business teaching wartime defense tactics.
Arthur not only trained the man who died in an hours-long police standoff but also gave him the blueprints for making and using bombs with the intent to kill members of law enforcement, prosecutors said. A grand jury indicted Arthur on charges of distributing information relating to explosives earlier this month, and he was arrested on Jan. 22.
He had his first court appearance on Monday, Jan. 31, during which a judge granted the government’s motion to unseal the case, court documents show.
“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,” U.S. Attorney Michael Easley said in a news release announcing the charges. “This type of behavior is criminal, it is unacceptable, and it will be prosecuted to the fullest extent.”
Arthur did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent to his company email address, and his defense attorney declined to comment in a statement to McClatchy News.
The case dates to 2018, when the FBI was tipped off about someone organizing a militia group with plans to thwart the U.S. government, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of North Carolina.
That person, whom prosecutors did not identify, was shot and killed on May 27, 2020, after a two-hour standoff with law enforcement in New York. Investigators subsequently searched his car, where they found three improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. A search of the man’s home uncovered more IEDs, several guns and multiple instruction manuals from a company called Tackleberry Solutions.
The company is owned by Arthur — who lives in Mount Olive, North Carolina, about 64 miles southeast of Raleigh — and the man had attended training there for several days in March 2020, the government said.
As part of the investigation, prosecutors said 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,” the government said.
Then, on May 5, 2021, Arthur provided training to an individual that included instructions on how to place IEDs on their property, use remote-activated firearms and “evade arrest after killing members of law enforcement,” prosecutors said. He also showed the person how to make different components of an IED, which he gave to them at the end of the training.
According to the news release, all of this was done after Arthur learned the person he was training “intended to kill federal law enforcement who might come to his home.”
Investigators subsequently searched Arthur’s house and found multiple IEDs, an electronic trigger, a pistol suppressor, bulk gunpowder and other explosives.
In a nine-minute video posted in November, Arthur said he started Tackleberry Solutions after his second deployment in Iraq because he thought the U.S. was “suffering from the very same disease that the Iraqis were plagued by — and that was tribalism.” He said he created the training series to help people defend their communities against “any type of invading force or gang or tyrannical government.”
“I really didn’t at that time know what it was 100 percent we were going to face,” Arthur said in the video. “… I now see the closer we are to it that we’re literally going to face all three.”
The website describes Tackleberry Solutions as both an “educational company that teaches wartime military tactics for home defense” and a breeder of Doberman pinschers. Arthur is listed as the CEO and primary instructor. As part of the training, he encourages individuals to “prepare for the worst, most unlikely thing that could possibly happen with as many technical difficulties that you can think of.”
“For example,” the website states, “a mob of armed protesters surround your home and try to attack your family. The 911 system is overloaded, your phone is broken, your car isn’t working, one of your children is shot from a stray bullet and your wife is going into labor.”
The website also instructs individuals to “vote in a sheriff that is willing to work with a local militia.”
Arthur’s next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 4, when a judge will decide whether he should remain in custody pending trial.
If he’s convicted, Arthur faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, prosecutors said.
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