Tennessee man charged by the federal government His son told NBC News that his plan to join a far-right militia that targets immigrants and law enforcement at the southern border is a big talker with no intention of harming anyone.
Paul Faye, 55, was arrested Monday on a charge of possession of an unregistered firearm or silencer. The complaint from his arrest, which was first reported by the news bulletin Judicial reviewreveals that he was the target of a nearly year-long undercover FBI investigation into far-right militia movements.
“They think my father is a terrorist,” Joseph Faye, 30, said in a phone interview Wednesday. “He is not a terrorist. He talks a big game, but it’s all a lie.”
According to the complaint, the elder Faye made several claims in 2023 that he contacted militias to hide FBI agents and expressed a desire to go to the southern border and “stir up a hornet’s nest” by posing as a sniper. immigrants and US border officials. He allegedly told the FBI he was coordinating with militias in Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee. Paul Faye also claimed to have connections capable of making explosives and said he booby-trapped his home with butane tanks and was later linked to a man accused of killing US government officers and employees. according to the complaint.
In a moveAssistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, Paul Faye, wrote that Faye “planned to travel to the border and commit acts of violence against migrants and federal law enforcement over an eighteen-month period” and “actively recruited and encouraged others.” to engage in similar behavior.”
Joseph Faye called the government’s claims “ridiculous”.
“He’s not a sniper,” Yusif said of his father. “We went hunting and my dad had to shoot a deer three times before he could shoot it. He is not a sniper.”
Yusuf described his father as a “compulsive liar” with mental health problems. He said his father was “triggered” by the overly broad FBI investigation.
The FBI and the US attorney declined to comment. The public defender representing Paul Faye could not be reached for comment.
Against the background of the strengthening of right-wing extremism, law enforcement agencies have been criticized from all sides in the fight against domestic terrorism. Republican lawmakers and conservative media argue that the crackdown on far-right movements, from local and state militias to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, the overthrow of the government. Meanwhile, left-leaning politicians and pundits accuse law enforcement agencies of failing to respond to threats of violence from right-wing local groups. quite seriously.
According to undercover FBI agents Joseph Faye “constantly” called Paul Faye and met with him in person at least four times; Yusif said that he attended three of the meetings. From the first meeting in April, when he took his father to meet with secret agents in a Walmart parking lot – the meeting has been detailed. complaint – Joseph said he suspected the men were with the FBI.
“I said, ‘They’re feeding, they’re undercover cops,’ and he said, ‘No, they’re not,'” Joseph said. “Every time they came to see us, they would be in different cars. They always brought ARs. My family and I went camping once and I know they show up. I told my father that they were feeding, there was no doubt about it.
Joseph said undercover agents brought his father food, took him out to eat and brought him gifts, including Second Amendment patches, a “Don’t Tread on Me” Gadsden flag and other items seized during the raid on Paul’s home today. week.
According to public records, Paul Faye previously owned a carpentry and repair business. During the warmer months, he takes care of the lawn, his son says. Paul filed an application Chapter 13 bankruptcy In 2016, however, the application was rejected. Before his arrest this week, he lived in a trailer next to his ex-wife’s home.
Paul’s bio on Facebook reads: “I am a Son of the Family of God who believes what is right is right and what is wrong is wrong.” He was active on TikTok, where his son said he often watched and shared videos from anti-government channels where people talked about the country being “overrun” by immigrants. Most of Paul’s videos are of his pet raccoons, but one posted in February 2023 shows a Spartan helmet, two rifles, and a patch emblazoned with the words “2nd American Militia.” In a comment, Paul described the patch as “my band patch.”
Two members of the 2nd American Militia were arrested in Missouri in October 2022 after a shootout with FBI agents executing a search warrant. Men, Bryan C. Perry and Jonathan S. O’Dell, they face many federal bills assault, attempted murder, and conspiracy to kill officers and employees of the United States government. Perry and O’Dell were accused of planning to travel to Texas to shoot and kill immigrants crossing the southern border and killing Border Patrol agents who stopped them. Both men pleaded not guilty to the charge.
According to this month’s complaint, phone records showed “extensive communication” between Perry and Paul Faye leading up to Perry’s arrest in 2022, prompting an investigation into Faye.
Joseph Faye said his father met Perry through TikTok and Perry came to his father’s property to shoot. Perry said he was interested in joining a small survivor group that he, his father and four other men belong to.
“Our group is all about being able to survive in the wild, just good old country boys,” said Joseph, who asked not to be named. Joseph said the group will camp, hunt, fish and practice survival skills, and the focus is not on government overreach or surviving a civil war, but a “walking dead situation,” referring to the post-apocalyptic TV series. “We’re not trying to harm anyone and we’re sure it’s not some militia,” he said.
Joseph said Perry was constantly talking about the president and the border. “I have a bad feeling,” he said. “We weren’t about that. We told my dad to stop talking to him, but he kept talking and talking. Now he is guilty of association.”
In January, Paul invited undercover FBI agents into the “war room” of his trailer, which was stocked with guns, ammunition and tactical gear, and sold them unregistered silencers, according to the complaint.
Joseph said that the weapons in his father’s trailer belonged to him.
“These were mine,” Joseph said, explaining that he kept his firearms in his father’s farmhouse, where he was hunted and targeted. “I am a deer hunter. I have shotguns. “My father’s only weapon is an old shotgun he bought from his father before he died.”
The only charge against him was the alleged sale of a muffler by Paul Faye. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.