‘Doomsday preppers’ admit to hoarding guns, booby traps for end-time battle with feds
A group of “doomsday preppers” have admitted to illegally purchasing firearms and destructive devices as part of a plot to kill government agents.
Martin Howard Winters, who surrendered June 18 to authorities in Florida following a two-day manhunt, led a group known as the River Otter Preppers, reported the Tampa Bay Times.
Authorities said the 55-year-old Winters agreed to turn himself in after FBI agents promised him dry shoes, Gatorade, and a couple of cheeseburgers.
Group members stockpiled weapons and other supplies to prepare for Armageddon, as foretold by the Bible’s Book of Revelations.
An undercover FBI agent reported Winters had discussed guns he buried and booby traps he set to kill government authorities if they raided his property in Valrico.
He will formally plead guilty Oct. 2 to illegally designing and owning destructive devices, and he agreed to disclose the location of at least 30 semiautomatic rifles he obtained through straw buyers.
The government agreed to drop two existing charges and won’t prosecute him for the straw purchases.
Winters could face up to 10 years in prison.
Five other group members have already reached plea agreements with federal authorities on a variety of weapons-related charges.
Michael Bonta will plead guilty to making destructive devices after admitting to making about 20 “rod holders,” or booby traps rigged to fire 12-gauge shotgun shells.
The 49-year-old Bonta made the devices without obtaining a proper federal permit and then failed to register them, as federal law requires.
James Beebe, 56, and Jason Swain, 33, have already pleaded guilty to possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.
Desiree Beebe, 23, and Nicholas Ryan Hall, 23, each pleaded guilty to making a false written statement when buying a firearm by pretending the weapons would be for their own use.
They will be sentenced Oct. 31.
Watch this video report posted online by ABC Action News: