Former Navy recruit gets probation on drug charges
by Kate Brumback
Associated Press Writer
November 21, 2012 11:00 PM | 1045 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ATLANTA — A former Navy recruit with ties to a militia group that prosecutors say plotted terrorist attacks while operating inside the U.S. military pleaded guilty Wednesday to gang activity and drug charges.

Jeffrey Wayne Roberts Jr. was sentenced to 10 years of probation after pleading guilty to charges of illegal gang activity and possession of cocaine, marijuana and ecstasy with intent to distribute, said prosecutor Isabel Pauley. He was indicted Nov. 5 and arrested last week. He pleaded under the state’s first offender statute and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in cases against the alleged militia members.

The indictment identifies the gang as F.E.A.R., short of Forever Enduring Always Ready, which prosecutors say was led by Army soldiers from nearby Fort Stewart.

Tom Durden, district attorney for the Atlantic Judicial Circuit in southeast Georgia, said last week that Roberts was the 11th person charged in connection with the anti-government group. Prosecutors say its members stockpiled guns and bomb components and discussed plots to blow up a park fountain in Savannah, poison apple orchards in Washington state and ultimately assassinate the American president.

A soldier accused of being the leader of the militia group, Army Pvt. Isaac Aguigui, and two others — Sgt. Anthony Peden and Pvt. Christopher Salmon — are charged with murder in the December slayings of 19-year-old ex-soldier Michael Roark and his girlfriend, 17-year-old Tiffany York. Prosecutors say they were killed to keep the group’s activities secret. Durden is seeking the death penalty for Aguigui, Peden and Salmon.

Roberts worked at a club in Savannah and provided between $10,000 and $15,000 worth of drugs to the group during a one-month period last fall, but he isn’t suspected of having a role in the slayings, Pauley said.

“He became a target of Aguigui,” who believed Roberts had purposely provided the group with a bad batch of ecstasy, Pauley said. Aguigui said Roberts should be killed for betraying the group, Pauley said.

Military records for Roberts show he served briefly as a Navy airman recruit. After enlisting in August 2003 and finishing his initial training, Roberts was assigned to the Strike Fighter Squadron 37 based at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va. Navy records show he left the military after barely a year, in December 2004, but records do not indicate why.

Three Army soldiers and a civilian were charged in September with committing home burglaries and car break-ins to help fund the group.

Two people have pleaded guilty in the case. Army Pfc. Michael Burnett pleaded guilty in August to manslaughter charges, saying he witnessed Peden and Salmon shoot both slaying victims on orders from Aguigui. Last month, former Pfc. Christopher Jenderseck pleaded guilty to helping burn bloody clothes, spent shotgun shells and a cellphone to help cover up the killings.

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