Prepper Manhunt In Florida: FBI Says Suspect Making Homemade Bombs

A Florida prepper is the subject of a manhunt after the FBI received a tip that he could be crafting homemade bombs on his property. Valrico prepper Martin Winters is a member of the River Otter Preppers group. The federal gun investigation turned into a statewide manhunt on Monday when FBI agents attempted to arrest Winters for possession of “unregistered destructive devices.”

Marty Winters is also accused of developing an “end of times plan to kill government agents,” according to a report in the Tampa Bay Times. On June 5, Martin Howard Winters, 55, and five other individuals believed to be a part of the River Otter Preppers mutual assistance group, were indicted by a federal grand jury. The sealed charges stem from an investigation into the Valrico group, that the suspect allegedly leads.

The homemade bombs and unregistered destructive devices the Valrico prepper allegedly made include metal tubes designed to fire 12-gauge shotgun shells. The homemade bombs were supposed to function as booby traps around the home of Marty Winters, according to the 24-page FBI search warrant.

Excerpt from the search warrant affidavit for the Florida prepper:

“Winters and the River Otter Preppers are preparing for an end of time event as prophesied by the Book of Revelations in the Bible which he believes will occur in the near future. [The end of time event] will require individuals to rely on themselves for food and protection from other individuals and the federal government.”

Last fall the Valrico prepper allegedly told an undercover FBI agent that he spent $200,000 on his preps and had buried 60 AR-15 semi-automatic rifles inside barrels underground. A news conference about the Florida manhunt earlier today indicated that the firearms were purchased legally, and obviously, it was not illegal to spend money on preparedness items or to bury such products on your own property.

The undercover FBI agent and Marty Winters then reportedly took a tour of his Valrico neighborhood in Hillsborough County where the manhunt suspect is said to have pointed out his bunkers. The River Otter Preppers member owns three properties in the rural area, one on Spring Road and two on William Boulevard – also not illegal.

The legal issues began for Winters when he allegedly talked about shooting government agents in the back after snagging them with fishhooks which would “pop out of air-pressured pipes mounted on the eaves of the porches.” The undercover agent “spent months” talking with Winters and during that time the Florida prepper also allegedly talked about shooting propane gas tanks at agents from the federal government if they entered his property.

The exact context of the discussion remains unknown. Supporters of the Valrico prepper maintain that the comments about shooting federal agents was noted as a self-defense measure if the end does come and officials attempt to round up citizens or take their food, weapons, and other belongings.

Those charged with being felons in possession of firearms during the Winters indictment include: Michael Bonta, 49; Jason Swain, 33; Nicholas Hall, 23; James Beebe, 56; and Desiree Beebe, 23. Bonta was also charged with making homemade bombs.

After FBI agents arrived at his home on Monday evening, Marty Winters fled in his vehicle and then ran into a wooded area and disappeared. “We’re hoping for a peaceful resolution to this. Nobody’s looking to do him any harm,” FBI representative David Couvertier said.

Excerpts from the River Otter Preppers website:

“Good neighbors helping neighbors through common sense approach on how to survive. Warning! Bad things happen – the last thing you want is your family to go hungry. Find out what can get you ready.”

Noted among the groups projects were the transformation of a swimming pool into a concrete fishing pond and the development of a community garden.

[Featured Image Via: Every Day No Days Off]

[Secondary Image: Press conference screen grab]

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