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Published on February 11, 2024
Feds Foil Tennessee Trio's Armed Conflict Plot in Texas, "Border War" BustedSource: Google Street View

An FBI operation recently uncovered and thwarted an alarming plot by a Tennessee man and his associates, who planned to escalate tensions at the Texas-Mexico border into armed conflict. According to a San Antonio Express-News report, the men involved believed they were confronting an "invasion" by migrants and aimed to violently target Border Patrol agents and undocumented immigrants.

In their misguided vigilante justice, Bryan C. Perry, 38; Jonathan S. O'Dell, 33; and Paul Faye, 55 were arrested and now face federal charges including conspiracy to murder federal officers, the plot reportedly included Perry firing at FBI agents with a multicaliber rifle during a search warrant execution at O'Dell's Missouri home, in a rash act that saw approximately 11 shots discharged. The Homeland Security Newswire detailed the sizable amount of firearms, ammunition, and other gear retrieved by authorities in the aftermath of their arrests.

Their preparations for what they viewed as a necessary confrontation began taking form as early as 2022, a journey rooted in a profound distrust for federal immigration policy and enforcement. Notably, one member went so far as to leave a message for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's office, implying that they would intervene if the state did not "shut it down" themselves, details which were summarized to a confidential FBI source, according to court documents obtained by the San Antonio Express-News.

Paul Faye's part in this proposed assault was to provide an unregistered silencer and to express a desire to join others in these violent acts yet he, along with the militia group, was under surveillance by undercover FBI agents who managed to engage Faye in conversations that painted a disturbing picture of his intentions. Faye's rhetoric encompassed gathering bulletproof vests from fallen individuals "as we go" and booby-trapping his property against law enforcement as detailed in a complaint, the FBI sting progressively uncovering the gears of a machine hell-bent on chaos as reported by San Antonio Express-News.

These developments come amid contentious discourse around border security in Texas, with Gov. Abbott and other Republican leaders branding the movement of migrants as an "invasion"—rhetoric that has drawn sharp criticism from immigration advocates and Democratic lawmakers. The San Antonio Express-News highlights that such language has previously incited violent acts, such as the tragic El Paso shooting in 2019, which left 23 people dead after the perpetrator echoed similar invasion rhetoric.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick's recent comments labeling migrants in extraordinarily grim terms, as published in the San Antonio Express-News, and Gov. Abbott's inflammatory remark implying the only restraint was refraining from shooting, have only fanned the flames of an already volatile situation. While both Perry and O'Dell have pleaded not guilty.