Gaston County Man Charged with Conspiracy to Violate Firearms Laws and Related Gun and Drug Charges
CHARLOTTE, NC—A federal grand jury sitting in Charlotte has indicted Walter Eugene Litteral, 50, of Gastonia, N.C. for conspiring to violate federal firearms laws and related gun and drug charges, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose of the Western District of North Carolina. Litteral’s conspirators, Christopher Todd Campbell, 30, of Mt. Holly, N.C., and Christopher James Barker, 41, of Gastonia, were charged separately today and have agreed to plead guilty for their involvement in the conspiracy.
Special Agent in Charge John A. Strong of the FBI’s Charlotte Division joins Acting U.S. Attorney Rose in making today’s announcement.
According to allegations contained in filed court documents and statements made in court:
In June 2015, law enforcement became aware that Litteral was conspiring with other individuals, including Campbell and Barker, to acquire firearms and components necessary to manufacture improvised explosive devices. Litteral, Campbell and others believed that the United States government intended to use the armed forces to impose martial law, which the conspirators planned to resist with violent force. Litteral and Campbell purchased smokeless gun powder, dummy grenades, fuses and other material needed to manufacture the explosive devices, stating that they would use them against law enforcement personnel who attempted to disarm them. In addition to manufacturing his own explosive devices, Litteral also helped Campbell reconstruct a dummy grenade into a live grenade and advised Campbell on how to maximize the success and impact of an explosion.
Litteral had also recruited Barker, who had access to plumbing supplies through his work, to provide him with pipe and pipe fittings needed to manufacture pipe bombs. Litteral also agreed to act as a “straw” firearm buyer for Barker, and attempted to purchase an assault rifle in his name for Barker’s use. Litteral also advised Barker on the type of ammunition Barker should purchase for the assault rifle, knowing that Barker’s prior felony convictions prohibited him from possessing or receiving a firearm or firearm ammunition.
To help finance his activities, Litteral sold prescription drugs which had been prescribed to him for his own use. Litteral was receiving approximately 240 hydrocodone and 90 oxycodone pills per month, which are both controlled substances, and sold approximately 150 pills per month to Barker. Litteral also sold prescription drugs to Campbell.
The six-count indictment charges Litteral with conspiracy to violate laws governing firearms and explosive devices which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison; making a false statement during the attempted purchase of a firearm, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison; aiding and abetting the possession of ammunition by a prohibited person; which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison; aiding and abetting the making of a firearm in violation of the National Firearms Act (NFA, that being a grenade, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison; conspiracy to distribute and possess Schedule II controlled substances, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison; and illegal distribution and possession with intent to distribute Schedule II controlled substances, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
Criminal bills of information were also filed in federal court against Litteral’s conspirators, Campbell and Barker. The two men have agreed to plead guilty to federal charges for their involvement in the conspiracy, and will appear before a U.S. magistrate judge in the coming days to formally enter their guilty pleas.
Campbell has agreed to plead guilty to one count of possession of an unregistered firearm, and one count of making a firearm in violation of the NFA, that being a grenade. Each charge carries a maximum of penalty of 10 years in prison. Barker has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to violate laws governing firearms and explosive devices which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and one count of possession of ammunition by a prohibited person, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
All three men have been in federal custody since they were arrested on August 1, 2015.
The charges contained in Litteral’s indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) of which the North Carolina Highway Patrol, the Federal Air Marshal Service, the Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Union County Sheriff’s Office and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department are members. In making today’s announcement, Acting U.S. Attorney Rose thanked the Belmont Police Department, the Mount Holly Police Department, Gaston County Police Department, the Gastonia Police Department, and the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s office for their assistance with the investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney and Senior Litigation Counsel Michael E. Savage of the Western District of North Carolina.