Gaston County Men Charged with Conspiracy against U.S. Government

Christopher James Barker, Christopher Todd Campbell, Walter Eugene Litteral

A Belmont tattoo parlor owner and two others made appearances in federal court Monday, August 3, after the FBI raided his business last weekend.

Christopher Todd Campbell, 30, the owner of Capone's Tattoo Parlor in Belmont, appeared in court. The parlor's service manager for the last 16 years, Christopher Barker, 41, also made an appearance, as well as Walter Eugene Litteral, 50, a veteran, according to Litteral's family. They're all facing charges for conspiracy against the United States.

According to the affidavit, Litteral, Campbell, and other people have extreme anti-government views. They believed in the Jade Helm conspiracy, in that the U.S. government planned on using the military to impose martial law. They were putting together a plan to resist with pipe bombs, grenades, and other explosives.

MORE: What is the Jade Helm conspiracy?

The FBI got a tip from an owner of a Belmont military surplus store that Litteral and Barker were trying to make explosives.The affidavit says Litteral was buying military equipment, including rifles, ammunition, radios, military-style Kevlar helmets and body armor.

They believe Campbell was making live grenades from "dummy" grenades that had legally been sold as military artifacts. The affidavit says Campbell was putting the grenades he built in a safe in his Mt. Holly home.

The FBI found out that Litteral and Campbell had some of the equipment needed to make pipe bombs and grenades. The affidavit says Litteral wanted to pack tennis balls with gun powder, then tape nails to the outside of the balls. He also planned to to fill coffee cans with with explosives, then detonate them with a gun shot. Litteral talked about testing the bombs in Shelby, NC, and planned to have Barker there for testing.

The affidavit says that the FBI believes Barker was helping Litteral get the pieces needed to make pipe bombs. Barker works for a company that has access to one of the parts.

At one point during a recorded phone call, Litteral said he planned to rig his house with explosives. He also said he had at least 30 weapons in his Gastonia home. At one point he discussed with an informant hooking up a smoke grenade to his front door.

The men also discussed a 99 acre camp near Clover, SC that Litteral used to go shooting. The men planned to booby-trap the land to capture and kill government agents. The FBI agent writes in the affidavit that the agency doesn't know where the camp is located.

The U.S. Attorney's office says Litteral tried to buy a gun and ammunition for Barker. Barker has a 1993 felony conviction for felony possession of stolen goods and felony possession of cocaine, which prevents him from legally buying and owning a gun. The affidavit says Litteral knew Barker couldn't own a gun, but planned to go to Gander Mountain in Gastonia to get one for him anyway.

The men learned how to build bombs and other explosives by watching videos on YouTube, according to the affidavit.

Campbell faces a charge for receiving, possessing and making a firearm without it being registered. The maximum penalty for the crime is ten years and a $10,000 fine.

READ MORE: Campbell's tattoo parlor asks for donations for legal fees

Litteral and Barker are both charged with conspiracy to violate laws governing firearms and explosive devices. The maximum penalty for the charge is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Both men have bond hearings set for Thursday.

Litteral's daughter said her father served 15 years in the military and would never do anything against his country.

The FBI raided Capone's Tattoo Parlor in Belmont on Saturday.