Martin Winters, a Florida prepper remained at large near the town of Valrico for three days before surrendering. The River Otter Preppers leader became the subject of a massive FBI manhunt after the agency received a tip about homemade bombs and sent an undercover agent to infiltrate the group. Martin Winters and the River Otter Preppers group often work together on livestock raising, hunting, and off the grid living projects.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the Florida prepper Marty Winters was the suspect in a federal gun investigation that turned into a statewide manhunt on Monday. The River Otter Preppers leader fled 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 day three of the Florida manhunt, prepper Martin Winters turned himself in to the FBI with the aid of a daughter and his attorneys. Winters was reportedly hungry, tired, and “soggy” when he surrendered to the FBI. In exchange for his peaceful surrender he was fed a lunch of cheeseburgers, French Fries, and Gatorade – and given a dry pair of shoes.
Winters invoked his right to remain silent after being led to a federal courthouse for his first legal appearance – his daughters wept as he when they saw him in handcuffs in front of the judge.
FBI representative David Couvertier had this to say about Martin Winters turning himself in after the manhunt:
“We’re glad to report that Mr. Winters did the right thing. We were hoping for a peaceful resolution, and we got that today.”
When the man who has been dubbed a “doomsday prepper” appeared at the federal courthouse near Valrico, Florida, the River Otter Preppers was wearing a brown t-shirt, dark camouflage pants, and had his “face trimmed by a Zeus-like mane of churning black and white curls,” the Tampa Bay Times reports.
The hearing began very respectfully with Marty Winters referring to the judge as “sir” but went down hill for the Florida prepper quickly. Magistrate Judge Thomas Wilson deemed Martin Winters a danger to the community and ordered that the 55-year-old be held without bail.
Winters pleaded not guilty to charges relating to the designing and building of unregistered destructive devices and related charges. Defense attorney Ellis Faught Jr. told Judge Wilson that an undercover FBI agent who spent many months building a legal case against Winters has “witnessed only talk.” Faught represented Winters 35 years ago on a minor hunting violation.
After the defense attorney had his say, Judge Wilson replied, “This is not just talk. There were, in fact, destructive devices found and sold.” According to the FBI affidavit, Marty Winters told the undercover FBI agent about “elaborate plans to kill government agents” if they ever raided his properties in Valrico.
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