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Georgia man accused of traveling to Tennessee for armed takeover of courthouse

12:06 PM, May 4, 2010   |    comments
Darren Huff
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A Georgia man has been arrested in Tennessee--authorities say he headed to Madisonville, armed and prepared to take over the courthouse.

Darren Huff stands charged of traveling in interstate commerce with intent to incite a riot and transporting in commerce a firearm in furtherance of a civil disorder.

The FBI says Huff traveled to Tennessee armed with a pistol on his hip and an assault rifle in his truck, intent on carrying out citizen's arrests of 24 federal, state, and local officials, and on seeing that another man did not face trial for trying to do the same.

On April 1, Walter Francis Fitzpatrick had tried a citizen's arrest of Grand Jury Foreman Gary Pettway. Fitzpatrick had previously tried to get the grand jury to indict President Barack Obama on charges of treason, with no success. Fitzpatrick was charged with disorderly conduct, inciting to riot, disrupting a meeting, and resisting arrest.

The FBI said Fitzpatrick had drafted and issued citizen's arrest warrants for the state, local, and federal officials.

Fitzpatrick was headed to trial on his charges on April 20.

FBI officials say Huff didn't want Fitzpatrick to go to trial, so planned to head to Tennessee.

The FBI interviewed a bank manager who said Huff told him on April 15 that Fitzpatrick had been falsely arrested, that Huff was in the Georgia militia, and that 8 or 9 other militia groups were headed to Madisonville on April 20 to "take over the city." The bank manager said Huff told him he'd see Huff's actions on the noon news.

FBI agents interviewed Huff at his home on April 19, and Huff said he would be traveling to Tennessee to help Fitzpatrick get the charges against him dropped. Huff told agents there would be no violence unless they were provoked into violence.

Still, he told agents he planned to travel with his Colt .45 handgun and AK-47 rifle.

Then, on April 20, officers in Madisonville reported numerous individuals in possession of openly displayed and concealed firearms, in the area around the courthouse.

FBI agents had observed Huff leaving his home around 6:15 that morning. Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers pulled him over in Sweetwater for traffic violations of traffic control device, registration law, and following too closely.

The troopers said Huff volunteered that he planned to travel to Madisonville to take over the courthouse, to arrest the people on Fitzpatrick's warrants--who he termed "domestic enemies of the United States engaged in treason"--and to turn those arrested over to state police to place in jail.

The troopers said Huff told them if they didn't have enough people on April 20 to do all they planned on that day, they'd be back in 1-2 weeks.

The troopers said Huff also told them he was ready to die for his rights and what he believed in, and that he would not consent to a search of his truck.

Then on April 21, Huff recorded a radio broadcast, talking about his traffic stop and saying he did have weapons and ammunition with him.

As a result, the FBI believes Huff had both the intent and means to carry out threats of violence.

He's on bond, under house arrest.

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