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Crime & Justice

A North Carolina man taught a person targeting authorities how to make a bomb, feds say

A North Carolina man who runs a company that “teaches military tactics to the everyday citizen” has been charged with showing someone how to make a bomb that would kill people in federal law enforcement, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday.

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The charges stem from a visit that an unnamed person made to Christopher Arthur's home in May, during which Arthur offered instructions for making improvised explosive devices, federal authorities said in a news release.

But Arthur had already been on the FBI's radar since at least May 2020. That's when police found multiple tactical instruction manuals — written by Arthur — in the home of a man who had just been killed in a shootout with officers in New York, federal authorities said.

The FBI had said it received information that the man in New York was attempting to "organize and recruit for a militia group and was preparing to engage against the United States government."

“(T)hat 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,” authorities said.

The man in New York was not named in the news release. But federal authorities said he had three improvised explosive devices in his vehicle and more at home, along with firearms.

A review of the man's cell phone indicated that he trained with Arthur at his North Carolina home in March 2020, the news release said.

Arthur, 38, runs a company called “Tackleberry Solutions" in Mount Olive, about 70 miles southeast of Raleigh, federal officials said.

Following the shooting in New York, the FBI “covertly requested a free PDF document" from Tackleberry in March of 2021, the news release said. A short time later, Arthur indicated in an email that he had to keep some information "off of the internet since explosives were such a touchy topic."

In May, an unnamed person was at Arthur's house, where Arthur “explained how to properly place IEDs through one’s property ... and how to evade arrest after killing members of law enforcement,” federal authorities said.

Federal officials said Arthur provided his bomb-making instructions knowing that the person "intended to kill federal law enforcement who might come to his home.”

After Arthur was arrested, federal authorities said they found multiple bombs and bomb components at his house, along with a pistol suppressor and bulk gunpowder, the news release said.

“This type of behavior is criminal, it is unacceptable, and it will be prosecuted to the fullest extent," Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, said in a statement.

Robert R. Wells, the FBI special agent in charge, added that last year “saw the most officers murdered since the 9/11 attacks.”

“Law enforcement officers are being feloniously killed in the line of duty at an alarming rate," Wells said.

Arthur faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison if convicted.

Damon Cheston, a Raleigh-based attorney listed for Arthur in court documents, declined to comment in an email to The Associated Press, writing that he doesn't comment on pending cases.

The website for Arthur's company lists a “Kit Arthur” as its founder and CEO. It says that Tackleberry Solutions "is an educational company that teaches military tactics to the everyday citizen for civil defense purposes.”

The website gives an example: “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.”

Arthur cites his background as having 13 years as a “recon soldier” and three years in "law enforcement."

A page offering in-person training near Mount Olive asks the question, “Are you ready for war?”

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