Sheriff's Office: Extremist Group Tries To Take Over Foreclosed Property
What appeared to be a simple burglary leads authorities to a man whom deputies say has ties to a domestic terrorism group.
An Upstate man faces claims that he is part of “domestic terrorist group” that tried to take over a foreclosed property in Pickens County.
Garnett Radcliff Campbell, Jr., of Piedmont, faces charges of attempted intimidation of law enforcement by use of a sham legal process, burglary and trespassing, according to a release from the Pickens County Sheriff's Office.
The charges result from an investigation by the Sheriff's Office and the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force.
An area real estate agent contacted authorities last month about a foreclosed home at 112 White Violet Way in Sunset.
Upon arrival at the home, the agent said he saw a notice posted on the front door that the house had been seized by a sovereign group.
“The sovereign citizen movement, in all its various forms, poses a clear threat to the safety of our community because it’s an attempt to disengage from the rules which govern everyone,” said Sheriff C. David Stone. “A person who fervently believes that he is not subject to the law, and can essentially dictate his own law, is potentially very dangerous.
In result, there’s not much difference between that type of individual and a jihadist who follows a radical form of Islam,” Stone continued. “In both cases, their belief structures convince them that what they are doing is right, regardless of the effect on society as a whole.”
The real estate agent also told authorities the home's back door lock had been drilled into, and that he believed the perpetrators had changed the locks on the home's front door.
He also told deputies that cleaning supplies had been brought into the house.
A deputy stated in the incident report that he also observed the notice on the front door, a document from the “Moorish American Society of Philadelphia,” which asserted to be judicial notice that the property had been seized pursuant to international law.
It also proclaimed that any law enforcement officer on the premises was trespassing and subject to being sued, the release stated.
Due to prior research, investigators from the Sheriff's Office were aware that the FBI considers the Moorish National Republic and offshoots from it as domestic terrorism groups.
In addition, the real estate agent told authorities that the FBI had advised his office that the property was a possible takeover target by the group.
The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force was then contacted, the release said.
According to the release, evidence at the scene lead Sheriff's Office investigators to Campbell.
Campbell, a former resident of New Jersey, had assumed the name “Noble Yeshuah B. al Nina El,” and moved in with his mother at an address in Piedmont, the release said.
Investigators obtained a warrant for Campbell's arrest on the attempted intimidation charge.
Deputies then contacted and worked with Anderson County Sheriff's deputies, who executed a search warrant on Campbell's home in Piedmont.
Agents from the JTTF and Pickens County investigators assisted with the search, the release said.
Campbell was found hiding in the home.
Campbell also will face federal charges as the FBI continues to investigate the matter, the release said.