Officials said suspects planned to penetrate a research facility in Alaska that has been the subject of several conspiracy theories. (Source: WALB)
High Frequency Active Aural Research Facility or HAARP (Source: Galileo)
Coffee County Sheriff Doyle Wooten (Source: WALB)
Investigators seized 9 different firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition and other items. (Source: Coffee County Sheriff)
University of Alaska Fairbanks spokesperson Marmian Grimes (Source: WALB)
COFFEE CO., GA (WALB) -
Two south Georgia men are accused of plotting domestic terrorism based on bizarre conspiracy theories.
Coffee County Sheriff's investigators arrested Michael Mancil, 30, and James Dryden Jr., 22, on Thursday.
Officials said the suspects planned to penetrate a research facility in Alaska that has been the subject of several conspiracy theories.
Investigators said the massive amount of arsenal seized looked like something out of a movie, one where a small army was headed to war.
But Coffee County investigators said the two Douglas men collected dozens of weapons as part of a plan to attack the High Frequency Active Aural Research Facility or HAARP.
The former U.S. Air Force lab is now owned by the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
"We were really, really concerned about all the arsenal that they were piling up," said Coffee County Sheriff Doyle Wooten.
Four AR-15 rifles, four Glock hand guns, a Remington rifle and two to three thousand rounds of ammunition were found on the 200 block of Jim Road in Coffee County.
Investigators also seized radios, two flak jackets, $5,500 and a small amount of marijuana.
Investigators discovered the plot after starting to investigate Mancil for possible drug sales.
A local gun shop also alerted investigators to the fact that Mancil was trying to buy a large amount of weapons.
"He's never known to be violent. This past four to six weeks he just snapped and just changed. His whole personality changed," said Wooten.
Wooten said Mancil plotted with Dryden to destroy HAARP because they believe conspiracy theories claiming the facility manipulates the weather, controls minds and even traps the souls of people.
Officials at HAARP told us they actually study the Earth's atmosphere.
They said they've had threats before but nothing of this magnitude.
"Also are really grateful to the law enforcement agencies there in Georgia for following up on this tip and their work in making these arrests," said University of Alaska Fairbanks spokesperson Marmian Grimes.
HAARP officials have security in place to prevent such attacks.
Mancil and Dryden are charged with selling Methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime.
Mancil is also charged with use of a telecommunication device in committing or facilitating a felony.