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Tennessee man was heading for border with weapons to ‘stir up hornet’s nest’, authorities say

A Tennessee man has been arrested after the FBI discovered he planned to travel to the southern border with an arsenal of weapons and explosives (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
A Tennessee man has been arrested after the FBI discovered he planned to travel to the southern border with an arsenal of weapons and explosives (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

A Tennessee man has been arrested after the FBI discovered he planned to travel to the southern border with an arsenal of weapons and explosives to “stir up the hornet’s nest,” authorities said.

Paul Faye was charged with selling an unregistered firearm suppressor on Monday, following a nearly year-long investigation into his alleged activities concerning illegal immigrants and the US-Mexico border, according to a criminal complaint federal prosecutors filed this week in Nashville, Tennessee.

Court documents said an undercover FBI agent first made contact with Mr Faye on TikTok in March 2023 following the indictment of Brian Perry, a militia member from Tennessee who, with another militia member, allegedly conspired to “go to war with border patrol” and murder migrants at the border.

Investigators said Perry had had “extensive” contact with Faye in the lead-up to his arrest.

According to court documents, Mr Faye allegedly told the undercover agent that he was coordinating with militia groups from Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee and planning to travel to the border. He also reportedly said he planned to meet up with a person who could make explosives to take to the US-Mexico border.

Court documents added that his aim was to “stir up the hornet’s nest” and garner significant media coverage.

“What I hope happens. Is called a domino effect. I want, I want the news to find out about it,” Mr Faye said, according to the criminal complaint.

He also allegedly told an FBI employee that he was the border militia’s sniper and that “his talent was ‘sending rounds down range.’”

Three undercover FBI agents then met with Mr Faye in April, court documents state, at which point he “discussed his belief that the government was training to take on its citizens, and more specifically, that the federal government was allowing illegal immigrants to enter the United States to help the government.”

The next month, during a recorded phone call with an undercover agent, Mr Faye warned, “The patriots are going to rise up because we are being invaded. We are being invaded.”

Eight months later, on 11 January, Mr Faye allegedly sold an undercover FBI employee an AK-47 rifle suppressor for $100 that was not registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ National Firearm Registration and Transfer Record, eventually leading to his arrest.

The same day, two undercover agents met with Mr Faye at his home, where he showed them his “war room,” according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint added that the room was full of “numerous firearms, a large amount of ammunition, radios, and a bulletproof vest.”

He allegedly invited the undercover agents to hold numerous weapons, including a Creedmoor rifle, multiple AR-15 rifles and a shotgun, the complaint says.

Mr Faye faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison if convicted.

His arrest comes as Republicans and Democrats are sparring over a border deal that could give the federal government the authority to “shut down” the southern border when migrant crossings pass a threshold of 5,000 per week.

The bill has already been rejected by House Republicans, with Donald Trump arguing that President Joe Biden’s policies are “causing death, destruction, and chaos in every American community”.

However, President Biden hit back, accusing Mr Trump of “weaponising” the issue of illegal immigration so that he can campaign on the issue, rather than trying to solve it.