Terry Eugene Peace, Brian Edward Cannon and Cory Robert Williamson will appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Walter Johnson this morning in Rome. The trio was arrested over the weekend near the intersection of Marketplace Boulevard and State Route 20 by agents and personnel from the Bartow-Cartersville Drug Task Force, Federal Bureau of Investigation Atlanta Field Division, Bartow County Sheriff’s Office and others.
The criminal complaint filed Tuesday by the FBI paints a picture of three men bent on targeting infrastructure to “cause mass hysteria and if enough sabotage was successful, then martial law would be declared therefore triggering other militias to join the fight.”
During a Jan. 23 online chat, the FBI alleges Peace spoke about a mission against the government to take place in February. “[Peace] encouraged members of the militia to review guerilla warfare tactics, small unit tactics, accumulate supplies, and prepare family. [Peace] advised that ‘guerilla warfare primary targets included TSA, DHS, non-emergency FEMA, road blocks, etc,’” the complaint states.
A source advised the FBI they would attend a Feb. 5 meeting in Memphis with Peace to discuss the mission. After the meeting was called off, the source, a person identified as “Chief” and a third person took part in an online chat.
During the FBI-monitored conversation, Chief wrote, “We will be using Guerilla style warfare tactics. I have been arguing with myself on what level of violence or what level of damage is acceptable. I do not want to kill or injure fellow Americans. So, at least for the guys with me we will restrain the violence toward people and target infrastructure. Then respond to violence with reciprocal violence.”
Chief went on to discuss training, attacking small targets first and then escalating to larger targets, the complaint states. Infrastructure was described as government vehicles, buildings, power and communication.
On Feb. 8, the source spoke with Peace about needed resources. Peace asked the source, who said he “had a contact that could provide the group with what it needed,” for “a thermite charge to go through the engine block” of an armored fighting vehicle. Thermite is composed of metal powder fuel and metal oxide.
The complaint states Peace also requested “12 pipe bombs” constructed for “maximum fragmentation.”
Also on Feb. 8, a second source reported to the FBI that Cannon said the group was planning to “... ‘start a fight’ with the government by strategically planning to sabotage power grids, transfer stations, and water treatment facilities,” the complaint states. This, Cannon said, would create mass hysteria and result in martial law, bringing other militia groups out of what he called “defensive mode.”
Cannon said he would invite the second source to join a Facebook chat where plans were being made and expressed a desire to recruit across the country for the missions, the complaint states.
On Saturday, the first source arranged to meet Peace, Cannon and Williamson in Cartersville. The complaint states that the FBI provided the source with 12 inert pipe bombs and two thermite devices, which he had agreed to provide.
Surveillance teams watched the subjects load rifles into Peace’s truck in Rome before driving to the Cartersville location. Once at the meeting place, the source placed the box containing the thermite devices into Peace’s vehicle, taking out instructions and reading them before giving the instructions to Peace, the complaint states. As the source went to place another box into the vehicle, the three suspects were taken into custody.
According to the complaint, a search of the truck turned up three rifles. Peace and Cannon both were armed with pistols, with Peace wearing body armor and Cannon wearing a tactical carrier for body armor.