A Piedmont man faces three charges in Pickens County and may face additional federal charges as well in connection with a burglary in Sunset in April in which officials said a “sovereign citizen group” characterized by the FBI as a “domestic terrorism” group, was allegedly trying to take over the home for its use.
Garnett Radcliff Campbell, Jr. of Piedmont, was charged with attempted intimidation of law enforcement by use of a sham legal process, as well as burglary and trespassing charges in Pickens County, according a press release from the Pickens County Sheriff Department.
Pickens County Assistant Sheriff Tim Morgan said Campbell was released on bail for the Pickens County charges, but was picked up there by the Greenville County Sheriff’s Department and detained on unrelated charges there. The FBI has also been investigating the case and federal charges are possible, according to Morgan.
A Pickens County Deputy responded to a report of a burglary at 112 White Violet Way in Sunset on April 24, according to the press release. A lock on a rear door of the home had been drilled, a lockbox stolen, and cleaning supplies were found in the house.
The release stated that the deputy found a document posted on the front door, claiming to be 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.
From prior research, investigators from the Sheriff’s Office were aware that the Moorish National Republic, a sovereign citizen group, and its offshoots are considered domestic terrorism groups by the FBI, the release stated. The report also said the realtor on the scene stated that his company had actually been advised by the FBI that the property was a possible takeover target for the group. The Sheriff’s Department notified the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force about the incident.
The press release said evidence led the Sheriff’s Office to Campbell, a former resident of New Jersey who allegedly had assumed the name “Noble Yeshuah B. al Nina El,” and moved in with his mother at an address in Piedmont. A warrant for Campbell’s arrest was obtained on April 25 by the Sheriff’s Office and Pickens County contacted the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department to execute a search warrant and the arrest warrant . Pickens County investigators and JTTF agents from the FBI assisted with the search. The press release said Campbell was found hiding in the home, and taken into custody.
“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 Pickens County Sheriff 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. In both cases, their belief structures convince them that what they are doing is right, regardless of the effect on society as a whole.”