Marion County (Fla) Sheriff’s Department deputies said they were able to foil a plot that would have put the Eustis police department, a church and a local Elks lodge at danger. After raiding a shed on Southeast 260th Avenue Road near Umatilla, where they found 22 firearms, several containers of black powder, body armor and drugs.
Two men were present when they converge on the small structure, and were arrested for planning the attack, which investigators stated was supposed to happen on Monday, and would involve the use of a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.
Deputies stated that the suspects, identified on Monday as Christopher Conger, 32, and Jeremy Robertson, 29, had body armor and even a ghillie suit.
Eustis Police Chief Fred Cobb first learned that his department and officers may be in danger on Friday afternoon, when a Lake County DOC inmate told deputies that he knew some people planning an all-out attack, on Monday using high-powered weapons.
“It did concern me — when you start talking about rocket grenade launchers — so I felt very confident that the Lake County Sheriff’s Office would pursue any leads,” Cobb said.
The leads led them to contact Marion County investigators about the shed, and armed with a search warrant, detectives found the arsenal of weapons, including handguns, rifles and plenty of ammunition. Also found was the ghillie suit, a pound of marijuana and numerous bags of crack cocaine.
Conger and Robertson, were both inside the shed during the raid and were arrested on numerous charges.
“They basically separated themselves from the incident; they said they had no idea that was going on inside their small, little shed,” said Lt. Brian Dotten, with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
Although they managed to find the “safe” the inmate had told them about, saying it contained the rocket-propelled grenade launcher, but it was empty and the third suspect known only as “Rhino” was not present.
“The fact that rocket-propelled grenade launcher wasn’t found doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. We hope we can find it, if it’s out there,” said Maj. Terry Brevard, with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. “As to the sense of it being false bravado, who knows? We really don’t know.”
“It kind of scared me, because I was by myself, and it just frightened me,” said neighbor Jeannie Cronk. “They used to shoot a lot of guns over there, a lot.”
“You cannot measure prevention,” Sheriff Chris Blair said. “We don’t know what we prevented by taking these two guns off the street and putting these two individuals in custody.”
News Channel 13 reporters were allowed inside the shed, where they were able to see the safe and other items found within, and was told by the man who invited them in, that there was no way a RPG would fit inside the medium-sized floor safe.
Despite an extensive search for the missing accomplice, and a possible missing RPG, deputies stated they believed all the targets were safe.
Patrick James has worked as a firefighter/EMT for several services throughout the years, as well as a custom metal fabricator, certified personal trainer and chef.
Growing up in the rural suburbs of Detroit, it was during his frequent trips to Northern Michigan where he learned of his love for hunting and fishing. Spending several of his adult years in upstate South Carolina, his love of extreme sports took root in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains as he learned to rock climb and kayak.
“Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and vanish into air.” ~ John Quincy Adams