Tennessee man arrested after undercover FBI investigation reveals travel plans to the Southern border with weapons

A Tennessee man was arrested Monday after allegedly telling undercover FBI agents about his desire to travel to the US-Mexico border to “conduct acts of violence,” according to a criminal complaint.

In March 2023, Paul Faye Sr. first talked with an undercover FBI agent on TikTok, and after exchanging direct messages on the app and communicating over the phone, the men, and two other undercover FBI agents, eventually met in person on April 1, said the complaint filed Friday in US District Court in Tennessee.

During the meeting, the complaint said, Faye told the agents about “his belief that the government was training to take on its citizens, and more specifically, that the federal government was allowing illegal immigrants to enter the United States to help the government.”

“The patriots are going to rise up because we are being invaded,” Faye had said May 11 in a recorded phone call with the undercover agent. “We are being invaded.”

During another in-person meeting on December 14, Faye discussed with the undercover agent plans to travel to the southern border in coordination with militia groups from Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee “to transport explosive devices to the border without law enforcement detection,” the complaint said.

Faye told the agent that his hope was “to stir up the hornet’s nest” at the border to garner further support and news coverage from the “right kind of news,” according to the criminal complaint.

According to the criminal complaint, Faye is charged with “possession or transfer of a non-registered firearm,” which holds a maximum fine of $250,000 and a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.

As for his alleged role with the militia group traveling to the border, Faye planned on working as a sniper, noting “his talent was ‘sending rounds down range,’” the complaint said.

“I’ll be the first one on the scene, and the last one to leave,” Faye said, according to the complaint. “The reason why I say that is, if something, just say that we were going down like that, before you even put yourself in danger, I would be on top that roof right there, zeroing out, taking out anybody.”

CNN has reached out to an attorney representing Faye.

The Tennessean’s arrest comes at a time of a growing feud between Texas and federal authorities over the handling of the migrant crisis, jurisdiction ownership at parts of the US-Mexico border and a highly contested border bill on Capitol Hill.

A preliminary and detention hearing for Faye is scheduled for February 12.

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