Man sentenced to 25 years for teaching bomb-making to person targeting authorities

May 24, 2024, 11:37 AM

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A federal judge on Friday sentenced a North Carolina man to 25 years in prison for teaching someone how to make bombs meant to kill federal law enforcement officers.

A jury had found Christopher Arthur, 40, guilty in 2023 for the bomb-related charges, as well as for illegally possessing weapons, including improvised explosives found on his farm in Mount Olive, North Carolina.

Arthur, a U.S. Army and North Carolina National Guard veteran who served two tours of duty in Iraq, founded a company called Tackleberry Solutions, which created manuals and videos teaching so-called wartime tactics. In addition to the bomb-making instructions, Arthur’s training manuals and videos included instructions for how to create “fatal funnels” meant to kill responding law enforcement with booby traps.

Arthur initially attracted the attention of the FBI in 2020 after some of his manuals were discovered in the possession of Joshua Blessed, a man who had attacked sheriff’s deputies and police officers in upstate New York. Blessed, a truck driver, died after leading officers on a nearly two-hour high-speed chase and gun battle.

Arthur was arrested in January 2022 after he provided instructions for how to construct bombs to a confidential human source, referred to as “Buckshot” by federal prosecutors.

Buckshot initially contacted Arthur in May 2021, claiming that agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had confiscated some of his weapons. He told Arthur he wanted help preparing for the agents’ expected return to his house.

At trial, Arthur said his manuals and training sessions were not meant to be used to launch attacks on law enforcement or the government. He said he believed that the country was headed into violent chaos, and he wanted to prepare people to defend themselves.

In a brief statement on Friday before his sentence, Arthur, dressed in orange jail clothes, warned that the country was going to soon fall into violence. “Buy food storage and prepare to defend yourselves and your family,” he said.

Federal prosecutors charged Arthur with domestic terrorism enhancements related to the bomb-making instructions, charges the judge kept in place despite defense objections.

Arthur’s federal public defender, Ed Gray, told the court that his client was a deeply religious man who simply wanted to keep his family safe from what Arthur believed was a coming apocalypse.

“He’s not some sort of terrorist like Timothy McVeigh,” Gray said, referring to the man who was executed for the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995. “He’s a veteran who served two tours of duty in Iraq. It’s tough to come back from that, and his focus had changed. There are unseen issues that should be addressed,” Gray added, saying Arthur was open to therapy.

But before imposing Arthur’s sentence, U.S. District Judge James C. Dever III said he took into account the defendant’s service and his history as a former law enforcement officer.

“It’s really sad, honestly,” the judge said, referring to Arthur’s military service and the families of those he was accused of targeting. “But it is serious, too. Just as every person who’s ever had a loved one in combat knows, they pray every night that they’ll come home. Families of law enforcement say the same prayer every day when their spouse, or mom or dad, go to work.”

National News

Associated Press

New York requiring paid break time for moms who need to pump breast milk at work, under new law

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York moms returning to work after giving birth will now get paid break time when they need to pump breast milk at their jobs, under a new law that took effect Wednesday. Gov. Kathy Hochul said the law requires employers in the state to provide a half hour of paid […]

14 minutes ago

Associated Press

Cooler temps and rain could help corral blazes that forced thousands to flee New Mexico village

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — Cooler weather — and the chance of rain — could bring some relief this week to firefighters battling blazes in southern New Mexico that killed one person, damaged hundreds of structures and forced thousands to evacuate. Strong wind pushed the larger of two wildfires into the mountain village of Ruidoso, forcing […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

Immigrant families rejoice over Biden’s expansive move toward citizenship, while some are left out

HOUSTON (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of immigrants had reason to rejoice when President Joe Biden unveiled a highly expansive plan to extend legal status to spouses of U.S. citizens but, inevitably, some were left out. Claudia Zúniga, 35, married in 2017, or 10 years after her husband came to the United States. He moved […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

Early blast of heat and humidity leaves millions sweltering across the US

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A blast of heat and humidity in the Midwest and Northeast days before the official start of summer put a wet blanket on outdoor activities from festivals to sports camps as officials urged people to take precautions. Cities that opened cooling centers this week advised that Wednesday’s Juneteenth holiday means some […]

11 hours ago

Image:The New York Giants' Willie Mays poses for a photo during baseball spring training in 1972. M...

Associated Press

Willie Mays, Giants’ electrifying ‘Say Hey Kid,’ dies at 93

Willie Mays, whose singular combination of talent, drive and exuberance made him one of baseball’s greatest players, has died. He was 93.

15 hours ago

Associated Press

California man charged with killing gay college student takes the stand

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A California man charged with killing a gay University of Pennsylvania student in an alleged hate crime six years ago testified Tuesday about how the two men connected on social media and went to a park. It was the last time the victim was seen. Samuel Woodward, 26, took the […]

16 hours ago

Man sentenced to 25 years for teaching bomb-making to person targeting authorities