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Crime & Courts

FBI: Valrico man arming himself for the end-of-times

Published:   |   Updated: June 16, 2014 at 11:59 PM

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The FBI is looking for a Valrico man they say is a leader of a group of people preparing for the end of times.

Martin Winters, of 3032 Williams Blvd., is wanted on a federal arrest warrant on gun- and weapons-related charges, according to court records. According to the records, Winters leads a group in Valrico known as the River Otter Preppers that was manufacturing destructive devices.

The group is “preparing for an end-of-times event as prophesied by the Book of Revelations in the Bible which he believes will occur in the near future,’’ the FBI wrote in a probable cause statement seeking a warrant to search Winters’ home.

According to the probable cause statement, Winters has used straw buyers to purchase AR-15 rifles, and the rifles might be buried on his property. In addition, Winters helped build and sell metal pipes that were designed to function as booby traps by firing a 12-gauge shotgun shell.

When the FBI approached Winters at about 8:40 a.m. Monday, he drove away and then fled on foot, according to the FBI.

Anyone with information about Winters is asked to contact the Tampa FBI Field Office at (813) 253-1000.

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