The FBI has arrested a Utah man who is accused in court documents of making machine guns and discussing the bombing of an Internal Revenue Service building and other government facilities.
Keith Max Pierce, 34, of Provo, Utah, currently is only charged with three federal firearms charges – failure to register as a firearms dealer, illegal possession of machine guns and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number.
Officials have not said what Pierce’s motivations may have been.
Pierce was arrested Wednesday in Provo, Utah, by federal agents assigned to a Joint Terrorism Task Force. He is scheduled to appear at a bail hearing Monday in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.
Debbie Dujanovic Bertram, a spokeswoman for the task force, told Hatewatch today she could not discuss if Pierce is a “sovereign citizen,” someone who believes himself exempt from most laws and taxes, or a member of any antigovernment groups.
“This [is] an individual who made comments indicating he could be a threat to the community," Loren Cannon, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI office in Salt Lake City, said Thursday, the Provo Daily Herald reported.
The investigation of Pierce began last November after he allegedly made comments to an FBI informant, according to court documents unsealed Thursday. Pierce’s statements concerned “bombing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) based in Provo, Utah, the Provo Police Department and a court building (believed to be the Provo City Justice Court),” the court document says.
Pierce also discussed having access to fully automatic weapons and having the tools and knowledge to make fully automatic weapons.
During the ensuing investigation, an undercover FBI agent was introduced to Pierce through an online gun advertisement, authorities disclose in federal charging document. On March 20, the document says the undercover agent and Pierce “made a deal” for the purchase of a fully automatic AR-15, the same type of weapon used by U.S. military forces. Without a federal registration, it is illegal to possess fully automatic weapons.
On May 28, Pierce delivered the machine gun with an obliterated serial number to the agent in the clubhouse parking lot of the Branburry Apartment complex in Provo, the court document says.
In a subsequent conversation secretly recorded by the FBI, Pierce discussed just how easy it is to take a legal, s semi-automatic AR-15 assault rifle and convert to a fully automatic weapon.
“Actually make that full … you only need to take out one part, it’s easy as hell,’’ Pierce is quoted as saying in the court documents. “I brought the tools with me. … I could’ve shot it, taken the one part out and pocketed it and nobody would’ve been able to figure it out.”