Skip to comments.Doomsday Prepper Martin Winters Surrenders, Held Without Bail
Posted on 06/19/2014 5:24:39 AM PDT by Iron Munro
TAMPA Federal authorities sought doomsday prepper Martin Winters for two days in the woods of east Hillsborough County, attempting to arrest him on weapons charges.
On the third day, agents didn't need to look far at all.
Winters, soggy-shoed and hungry, waited with a daughter in a car outside the FBI field office on Gray Street in Tampa on Wednesday morning as his attorneys stepped up to a reception desk and arranged his surrender.
In trade, he got cheeseburgers, fries, Gatorade, dry shoes, praise from the FBI and a morning free of gunfire all this from the agency that had spent months chronicling his antigovernment rhetoric and spying on his preparations for an imminent "last stand" with law enforcement.
"We're glad to report that Mr. Winters did the right thing," said FBI spokesman David Couvertier. "We were hoping for a peaceful resolution, and today we got that."
Winters invoked his right to remain silent and was moved to the federal courthouse in downtown Tampa for a first appearance before Magistrate Judge Thomas Wilson.
The defendant's three adult daughters sobbed when he was led into the room in restraints. He wore dark camouflage pants and a brown T-shirt, his face rimmed by a Zeus-like mane of churning black and white curls.
He stood when the judge entered the room. He called Wilson "Sir."
But Wilson called Winters a danger to the community and ordered him held without bail.
Federal authorities say Winters, 55, leads a group known as the River Otter Preppers that advocates survival preparations in advance of an end-times event foretold in the Bible's Book of Revelation.
He and five others were indicted by a grand jury nearly two weeks ago. He's accused of designing and building destructive devices without a permit, among other charges. He pleaded not guilty.
Defense attorney Ellis Faught Jr., who first represented Winters 35 years ago on a hunting violation, told the judge that an undercover FBI agent who spent months building a case against Winters had witnessed only talk.
But Wilson didn't accept that.
"This is not just talk," the judge said. "There were, in fact, destructive devices found and sold."
Winters talked about booby traps and stashes of weapons he had around his house at 3032 Williams Blvd., according to an FBI affidavit. He also discussed elaborate plans to kill government agents in the event that they raided his property.
The FBI had tried to arrest Winters on Monday as he was driving near Durant High School in east Hillsborough County, but he sped away.
Prosecutor Donald Hansen told the judge that agents exercised caution because Winters' two grandchildren were with him. Eventually, he let them out and then abandoned the vehicle and ran into the brush.
On Tuesday, the FBI announced a $5,000 reward for information leading to Winters' capture, calling him "armed and dangerous."
"It could have been a catastrophe had he not turned himself in," attorney Faught said.
The surrender process began with a phone call just after 7 a.m. Wednesday, according to Faught.
Winters' 26-year-old daughter, Tracey Winters, arranged to meet the attorney at his office. Once there, she said her father wanted to surrender, Faught said. They picked him up in the general area of his home, several miles southeast of Brandon.
"He got in the car immediately, and we didn't stop anywhere," Faught said. "We went on State Road 60 all the way in. I just wanted to make sure to get to the FBI office as fast as we could without incident."
A lot (but not all) of the charges against Winters are for thought crimes - what he would do in a SHTF world.
But thanks to the Patriot Act, our police state government can easily turn idle talk into a federal crime.
Other stories for backbround:
Hmmm. Wonder when the lsm will declare him a Tea Party supporter? And, it has to be realized that, while the nsa can’t find lois’ emails, they could sure as hell find any one of ours. Keep on FReepin’ on. You KNOW they’re watching this site. :>}
What’s the destructive device that he is accused of making?
This writer is terrible and completely misinformed. Winters fled on foot into a wooded area. He didn't "speed away."
He wore dark camouflage pants and a brown T-shirt, his face rimmed by a Zeus-like mane of churning black and white curls.
What is this? 11th grade English? You trying to win a Pulitzer with this tripe?
He's accused of designing and building destructive devices without a permit, among other charges.
And there's the rub. So it's not that he used them or sold them. He's just accused of designing and building them without a permit? So lemme ask knowledgeable FReepers: is the DESIGN of a "destructive device" illegal? I used to draw sketches of airplanes when I was in middle school. They were detailed down to wingspans, fuel capacities, and crew. Am I guilty of a crime for having drawn these fictional "destructive devices?"
I hope this guys is acquitted and sues the pants off the ATF for harassment. This is absolutely ridiculous. Prove to me that he sold these devices or that they even existed. I'm calling this whole damn thing a witch hunt.
FReepers beware! This is what our government wants to do to ALL of us!
IMO they do more than watch. They’ll instigate both to produce content which can be used to discredit but also to ferret out anti-govt types. Who they then track down and do further investigations on.
A smallpipe with a 12 ga shell in it. Poor mans claymore for perimeter protection.
What pisses me off is that the ATF and FBI spent all this time tracking down a single man in the sticks while a large Islamic organization (CAIR) with KNOWN ties to Islamic extremist groups goes undisturbed on 56th Street in east Tampa.
He probably had some plumbing parts and ammo reloading supplies in his basement. This become “he was stockpiling materials for construction of pipe bombs” in the indictment to come.
Regarding the grand jury - an ambitious, competent prosecutor can get an indictment against a ham sandwich.
The FBI’s idea of conducting an investigation is to wave money around hoping to attract potential informants, without which they couldn’t solve your average dog-bite case.
Correction - workshop, not basement. He’s in Florida, they don’t have basements.
AKA the Randy Weaver approach.
The first rule of survival clud is you don’t talk about survival club.
It's gotten beyond ridiculous.
I’m confused. What did he actually do?
see post 6 for driftdriver’s explanation of what he built or had plans for.
You might want to try rereading that paragraph. He first sped away in his car and then abandoned the car to flee on foot.
Well, I suppose that the folks out in east Tampa must be part of one of the “protected” classes. How far off I-4 are these religious freedom seeking folks?
So I take it it is illegal to build one of those. What about having the parts and a design? What’s wrong with that? Lots of people have pipes and 12 ga shells. What’s wrong with having knowledge of how to build something like that?
This is the first and biggest mistake detractors of the government and those who have the foresight to prepare for the inevitable make.
The first rule is silence backed up by well-though preparation.
Those who violate this are the reason why CIs exist at all.
Yes they do. F them.
Sounds like he might have been making a perfectly legal device known as a "Slam-Bang Shotgun".
Also known as a "Philippine Guerrilla Gun" or a "Richardson Gun".
It's more or less a 12 Ga. Zip Gun.
The simple version is two pieces of steel water pipe and a pipe cap.
Instructions are all over the net - just Google the term.
Here is a video of one example:
Not at all.
They are perfectly legal.
See my post #22 and watch the video.
Well when a child makes a maybe..gun out of a pop-tart,then gets the third degree and kick out of school...We should have seen this was coming. We are now being hunted for free thinking.
And so is the FBI, the Secret Service, the NSA.
The so called judge has already passed judgment ,that he is guilty .
Next they’ll tell me I cant keep empty beer bottles and gasoline in my garage . . .
What’s the second rule?
Good point - a recycling bin, gas for the lawn mower / leaf blower, and shop rags, and per the ambitious prosecutor, you were STOCKPILING MATERIALS FOR CONSTRUCTION OF MOLOTOV COCKTAILS!
Double trouble if you are stockpiling MILITARY HI-CAPACITY (wine) BOTTLES instead of beer bottles.
My FRiend, we now live in the age of Obama and have since November 4, 2008. Everything, except the worship of Obama, including breathing , without a permit, is forbidden. And soon the punishment for doing so will be death.
I can’t wait to see the material evidence the DON’T have against him.
The groups you mentioned are their friends and allies. We are their enemy.
One of the first rules of thumb, SHUT UP! The second rule of thumb is, SHUT UP! For the most part, it does NOT pay to advertise. The powers that be, and just about everyone else, can already find out way more about you than you would like. No sense in helping them if you can avoid it. Kind of like concealed carry vs open carry. Stay in the dang shadows and don’t advertise what a bad ass you think you might be. Fly low and as much off the radar as you can.
It's always hard to tell from these poorly written articles.
From what I read the real charge that might stick is that he (and others) were making an illegal "straw purchese" of a firearm.
A firearm "straw purchase" is when one person acts as an agent to buy a gun for another person with the intent of hiding the identity of the final owner.
Gifts are supposedly excluded.
“Whats the destructive device that he is accused of making? A gun?”
The term “destructive device” is a legal term spelled out in an act of congress, not common parlance. It has a specific definition, it’s not just some bit of word soup that can refer to whatever in the hell people want it to mean at the moment; in this case the term refers to items specifically defined in the National Firearms Act of 1934. It’s not a term that can refer to any gun, or a dangerous idea you come up with.
Look up 26 U.S.C. § 5845 subsection (f).
As a general rule any time you see charges describing a destructive device the charges will likely be referring to pipe bombs and suchlike.
A note about the NFA — the act was drafted back when Congress actually thought it was kindof bound by the constitution, so the act doesn’t actually ban the devices mentioned, merely levies a tax upon them and requires some form of application/registration for the possession, transfer, or construction of said items. This act was drafted back before the FDR administration successfully gutted most restrictions on federal authority.
Some states do effectively ban some of the items regulated under the NFA, some don’t; consequently you’ll find that in some states people are legally playing around with federally registered and taxed things like 40mm HEDP and RPGs — rare but interesting.
In this case the individual in question is being charged with the untaxed construction/transfer/sale/whatever of, effectively, pipe bombs.
And each morning you wake up the words,”Lose lips sink ships”, are the first sound from your mouth. And when you go to bed, the words, “lose lips sink ships” are the last thought going through your mind. Don’t follow this train of thought, and you will live to regret it, though your regret may only be a millisecond.
Thanks! I’ve never seen anything like that. According to that video, you still need paperwork to make one of those.
I recall when the Obama Justice Dept. arrested a bunch of guys from Michigan and Indiana for similar charges. After spending a substantial time in jail awaiting trial the case turned out to be BS and fell apart. (They may have called their group the “Hutrees” or something like that). The moral of the story is if you appear on their radar they will manufacture some reason to put you down. STFU and do what you have to do within the law.
Remember the first rule.
Thank you. Whether it’s a pipe bomb or a zip gun, I would assume they would have to prove he actually made one (without the proper “paperwork”)...not just talk about it.
Isn't it better to use the generic term "zombies" when talking about protecting your property?
Speaking of operating without a permit, I’d like to see a copy of the FBI’s Congressionally passed legislative charter. A citation to the United States Code will be sufficient.
Christ! You do know most states have laws banning the possession or construction of zip guns? It’s a bit hair-brained to call them “perfectly legal”, either that or just plain entrapment on your part.
And, no, it doesn’t sound like he was making a zip gun. I’ve seen examples of booby-traps recovered from raided grow-ops that were constructed as generally outlined in the articles that describe this arrest. The devices I’m thinking of do very decidedly meet the NFA’s definition of a DD.
See Post #35 this thread for some good advise.
Seems funny to me that they can spend this much time and money on this one man meanwhile on the border they are allowing all kinds on contraband from drugs to weapons as well as everybody from future lifetime welfare queens, drug lords, street hoodlums and terrorist to cross over.