Southern District of Texas
HOUSTON -- Robert James Talbot Jr., 38, has been arrested and charged by criminal complaint alleging attempted interference with commerce by robbery, solicitation to commit a crime of violence, and possession of an explosive material, specifically, Composition 4 (C-4), announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson along with Special Agent in Charge Stephen L. Morris of the FBI.
Talbot, formerly of Batavia, New York, and now a resident of Katy, was arrested yesterday following an eight-month undercover investigation by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). He is expected to make an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy today at 10:00 a.m. or 2:00 p.m., at which time the U.S. expects to request his detention pending further criminal proceedings.
According to the complaint filed late yesterday, Talbot espoused his desire to recruit five to six other like-minded individuals to blow up government buildings, rob banks, and kill law enforcement officers. Talbot allegedly created a Facebook page titled American Insurgent Movement (AIM). The complaint alleges he described that page as:
“a Pre-Constitutionalist Community that offers those who seek True patriotism and are looking for absolute Freedom by doing the Will of God. Who want to restore America Pre-Constitutionally and look forward to stopping the Regime with action by bloodshed.”
The criminal complaint further alleges Talbot made several postings on the page between January 30, 2014 and February 9, 2014, seeking people interested in “walking away from your life…to stop the regime.”
On March 15, 2014, Talbot allegedly posted again to the page:
“In a few weeks me and my team are goin active for Operation Liberty....I will not be able to post no more. We will be the revolution, things will happen nation wide or in the states. They will call us many names and spin things around on media. Just remember we fight to stop Marxism, liberalism, Central banking Cartels, and the New World Order. I will try to find someone to take over this community page, but most of the guys who are admins are part of my unit. I will have a website up in 2 months....The funding is unlimited since the banking cartel will be forced to fund our movements.”
The complaint alleges that on March 20, 2014, Talbot conducted surveillance of multiple financial institutions in the Northwest Houston area, monitoring the movements of people entering and exiting the banks. Talbot also allegedly followed an armored car, watching how personnel exited the vehicle and whether the carrier was picking up or dropping off bags.
On March 22, 2014, Talbot sent $500 as a down payment for the explosive devices he had requested, according to the complaint.
Two days later, Talbot allegedly claimed to have quit his job and was preparing for an upcoming armored car robbery. On March 27, 2014, Talbot and others met at a storage facility in Houston with the intent to conduct an armor car robbery that morning, according to allegations. Talbot allegedly provided detailed maps of the
target financial institution as well as escape routes in order to quickly evade law enforcement. The complaint further alleges he placed two explosive devices made of C-4 into his black backpack and allegedly stated he would place the explosive device on the vehicle. He further instructed the group how to block the armor car with their vehicle to prevent it from leaving the location and provided a “manifesto” that was read to the group. “We must rebel. There is no other option no. Blood and bullets are the only two things that will change this world, short of divine action.”
While en route to conduct the armored car robbery, Talbot was arrested and taken into custody by the FBI Houston Division Special Weapons and Tactics team.
If convicted, he faces up to a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment and a possible $250,000 fine for the attempted robbery, as well as another 10 years’ imprisonment and $100,000 fine for each of the remaining charges.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s JTTF, which includes personnel from the FBI; U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service; U.S. Department of State; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; U.S. Secret Service;, Houston and Houston Metro Police Departments; and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Carolyn Ferko and Jim McAlister are prosecuting.
A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.