Zamudio was part of a Facebook group called Defend East County that had been encouraging and celebrating violence against BLM protesters. “The only good liberal is a dead liberal,” Zamudio had written, according to an FBI affidavit. “It’s up to vigilantie [sic] militia to crush the liberal terrorists,” he allegedly wrote in another post, alongside photos of him in combat gear and videos of him reloading and shooting guns in the desert.
Zamudio was later charged with owning several unregistered assault rifles and suppressors. But when investigators seized his phone, it led them to an apparent network of extremists discussing “militia-type prepping,” talking about acquiring and trading weapons, and fantasizing about a civil war, according to a criminal complaint filed in Georgia federal court.
Among the members of a group chat titled “Shadow Moses”: a Georgia sheriff’s deputy who boasted of making illegal weapons, assaulting a Black man, and prepping for “guerrilla warfare.”
That officer, now-former Wilkinson County Sheriff’s Deputy Cody Richard Griggers, pleaded guilty to federal gun charges this week and faces 10 years in prison. He “has lost the privilege permanently of wearing the blue,” Acting U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary said in a statement.
Sprinkled among messages about making explosives, automatic weapons, and “bad ass quiet” suppressors, Griggers also made racist, homophobic and neo-Nazi remarks, according to the criminal complaint.
“Oh, got wrapped up in my AR and forgot to tell y’all that I beat the shit out of a [n-word] Saturday,” he wrote to the group, prosecutors said. “Fucker tried to steal a 33rd glock mag from the local gun store… Sheriff’s dept said it look like he fell.”
Griggers called it “sweet stress relief” and later said he wanted to charge Black people with felonies so they couldn’t vote, according to the feds. “It’s a sign of beautiful things to come,” he allegedly wrote.
At least some of the horrifying claims may have just been hot air, Wilkinson Sheriff Richard Chatman told the Macon Telegraph this week. He said Griggers worked in the county jail and there were no records of an arrest or a call to law enforcement about a man stealing ammo from a gun store.
“We don’t even have a gun shop here,” Chatman said.
Still, Griggers posted footage of himself making modified weapons and explosives, and claimed he could steal weapons only available to law enforcement, like flashbangs, according to the feds. Zamudio allegedly said he’d pay “big money” for them.
“I’m ready to terrorize la,” Zamudio wrote, according to the complaint.
Zamudio allegedly wrote that he wanted to buy some of the explosives Griggers was accused of making—although there’s no evidence that he did. “I’m not putting explosives in the mail but I will do the rest and tell you how to make the explosives,” Griggers replied, according to the complaint. “Also I’m cool with in person shit obviously.”
As they chatted about the possibility of a civil war, Griggers is said to have mulled ways they could kill famous liberals but somehow make it seem like it was done by Muslims or Black people at a time when people of color and their allies were demanding social change.
“We would win quick as hell in actual war,” he wrote, according to the complaint. But, echoing years of far-right conspiracies, he apparently feared that the United Nations would try to “restructure us to be globalist socialist bitches” if they did actually succeed in obliterating the country.
“I’m the guy on the inside,” Griggers allegedly wrote in another message. “I can figure out if my dept is siding with the enemy or not, and from there I’m either positioned to maximize damage by attacking for the inside, or coordinate efforts to safely identify ourselves as patriots in order to maximize weapons pointed towards the enemy and minimize friendly fire.”
When agents raided his home last November, they found unregistered weapons, silencers, and a machine gun “with an obliterated serial number” inside his squad car, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia said in a statement. He was fired soon after.
“All law enforcement officers swear an oath to uphold the law and protect each and every citizen they serve,” Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, said in a statement. “Griggers clearly violated his oath with his egregious actions and has no place in law enforcement.”