Six members of the U.S. Air Force had large quantities of stolen ammunition that were discovered after at least one defendant allegedly made online threats advocating for the violent overthrow of the federal government, according to court documents, Military.com reported.
The May 3 federal filing showed that the airmen possessed 14,000 rounds, stolen mostly from Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington, Military.com reported Monday.
The FBI’s Seattle Division opened an investigation last August after Staff Sgt. John I. Sanger began discussing acts of violence and advocating for the seizure of the U.S. Capitol, the report said.
“They defrauded our election system and are still getting away with it,” Sanger wrote in December 2020 under the social media moniker “problematicpatriot,” according to the FBI’s affidavit.
“That means this system has run it’s [sic] course. People have to die.”
Sanger and the five other airmen face charges of conspiracy to steal government property, possession of stolen ammunition, and possession of an unregistered firearm. Sanger has pleaded not guilty.
Court records were unclear as to the group’s intentions for the ammunition, though the FBI’s affidavit noted several of the defendants did use some of the ammo for target practice in rural Washington.
Sanger, Staff Sgt. Eric Eagleton, Nathaniel Richards, Shawn Robson, Austin Limacher and Jonah Pierce also were charged in the indictment. Ranks for the last four airmen listed were not included in court documents.
Ammunition, “consistent with the stolen ammunition,” were found at the indicted men’s residences, according to court records.
The indictment added that several defendants possessed other stolen military equipment, such as red dot optics and PEQ-15 target illuminators.
Sanger and Eagleton were arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit theft of government property, the Justice Department announced in April.
The charges came after the two men in March met with an undercover Office of Special Investigations agent who was wearing a wire.
Eagleton told the agent that he and other members of Fairchild’s 92nd Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms Training and Maintenance center regularly stole ammunition from the armory, according to the affidavit.
Eagleton added that he stole up to 3,000 rounds of ammunition daily.
“Teaching these f***ing retards how to handle weapons is pointless,” Eagleton allegedly told the special agent, Military.com reported. “They literally can’t remember how to clear it out, what’s the point anyways, send them downrange anyways and let me steal all this ammo.”
Court documents said that Richards later told the agent that weapons’ qualifications were falsified to show that the ammunition was used in training when it was actually stolen for “personal use.”
“We are aware of the arrest of the Airmen stationed here at Fairchild Air Force Base,” 1st Lt. Michelle H. Chang, a spokesperson for the 92nd Air Refueling Wing, told Military.com via email. “We have been and continue to work closely with federal law enforcement authorities to provide all relevant information to assist in this ongoing investigation.”
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