A Bismarck State College student was arrested on charges related to an anti-government militia that authorities say was led by Fort Stewart troops who stockpiled weapons and plotted to overthrow the U.S. government.
Christopher Jenderseck, 26, was indicted Monday along with four others on charges of illegal gang activity and various counts involving theft, burglary and auto break-ins. Those crimes were committed to help fund the militia group, which called itself F.E.A.R., for Forever Enduring Always Ready, according to an Associated Press report that quoted law enforcement officials in Georgia.
Jenderseck was taken into custody by the Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday. He was attending class at BSC when deputies served a warrant from Liberty County, Ga.
“We received a call from a district attorney in Georgia, and we acted on the information in the arrest warrant,” said Sgt. Mike MacDonald of the Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department. “What’s interesting is that we get so many warrants that it was just like any other day for us. They gave us a little background, but we found out a lot of the details afterwards.”
Fort Stewart officials have confirmed four of the men charged in the latest indictments are former U.S. Army soldiers – Jenderseck, of St. Cloud, Minn.; Adam Dearman, 27, of Auburn, Ga.; Timothy Joiner, 21, of Hampton, Ga.; and Anthony Garner, 23, of Newnan, Ga. Three of them were discharged from the Army between November and May, while Jenderseck’s enlistment ended in April. The fifth man charged was Dearman’s brother, Randall Blake Dearman.
So far, 10 people have been charged in connected with the militia group.
Four soldiers at Fort Stewart already had been accused of being members of the militia group, which was allegedly stockpiling weapons and bomb parts to overthrow the U.S. government, prosecutors said. Those four soldiers and a civilian were charged with murder in the December slayings of former soldier Michael Roark and his teenage girlfriend, Tiffany York.
Only one of the new indictments was related to the double slaying. Jenderseck was charged with evidence tampering. A member of the militia reportedly told authorities that Jenderseck had helped the accused soldiers burn clothing they had worn during the killings of Roark and York, who were found shot to death near Fort Stewart.
Fort Stewart, about 40 miles southwest of Savannah, is home to the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division. Tens of thousands of troops, their dependents, civilian personnel and contractors live and work on the base, which encompasses 280,000 acres and includes parts of five counties.
A law enforcement official told CNN that the group had legally purchased at least 18 rifles and handguns in Washington and Georgia. Uncompleted pipe bombs also were found, and were comprised of store-bought materials, the official said. No sophisticated military grade-explosives were involved in their construction.
MacDonald said Burleigh County deputies went to Jenderseck’s residence in Bismarck and did not report finding any illegal materials. He didn’t disclose the address where Jenderseck was living.
“I don’t believe there would be any danger to anyone around here,” MacDonald said.
Burleigh County State’s Attorney Richard Riha said Thursday that Jenderseck was being held at the county jail and was awaiting transport to Georgia. Jenderseck waived his right to fight extradition, Riha said.
“So they just have to come and get him,” Riha said. “It appears they really want him down there.”
BSC Executive Vice President Dave Clark said college administrators were unaware that Jenderseck was involved with a militia group until he was arrested. It was Jenderseck’s first term at BSC, he said.
“(Jenderseck) was attending class here on campus when the arrest occurred,” Clark said. “We were not aware that that was going to occur. We had not been contacted beforehand. Right now, we’re trying to find out how this all happened.”
-Matt Bunk is publisher of the Great Plains Examiner.