[Homestead] Forest Service & NC stupidity
bobford79 at yahoo.com
Tue Dec 16 04:24:02 EST 2008
They are going to burn hundreds of acres of forest just in case this horrid criminal has caches of ammo and other firepower. After all, he grew fifteen plants --fifteen -- maybe BO and John Edwards can round up some At F and F BI to join them. Of course , here on the damn border , Mexicans get cut loose on no bail for having pickup loads of this stuff. I guess is just depnds on whos ox the government wants to gore on a particular day. The idea of justice is a joke. What a ridiculous country we have become..
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BREVARD – A Henderson County fugitive had equipment to make booby traps in a camp where federal investigators allegedly found gunpowder and guns, a U.S. Forest Service spokesman said Tuesday.
John Joseph Hiles' camp in the Pink Beds area of Pisgah National Forest was a quarter-mile from Yellow Gap Road. The area is one of the most popular in the region for hiking and mountain biking. It is also popular with hunters this time of year.
The government had planned to burn hundreds of acres in the area on Tuesday to clear underbrush to aid in searching for more ammunition and explosives.
The Forest Service postponed the burn because of the rain.
Hiles, 45, was camping in the woods after failing to appear in court on charges of misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, felony manufacturing marijuana and maintaining a vehicle for selling drugs.
Investigators charged him with growing 15 marijuana plans in his 1984 Ford Ranger pickup truck in May, according to an arrest warrant. He had potting soil, cups and fertilizer in the truck to use in the growing operation, according to the court papers.
Hiles was being held in Henderson County with bond set at $20,500.
He is scheduled for a court appearance on Friday. The court papers listed his address as “general delivery,” which is often used by law enforcement when a person doesn't have a home address.
Officials with the Henderson County Sheriff's Office did not return messages Tuesday seeking more details.
U.S. Forest Service agents and deputies from the Transylvania County Sheriff's Office captured Hiles on Nov. 21. He had placed a classified advertisement looking for a ride out of the state.
A Forest Service agent responded to the ad and met Hiles in the forest, where he was arrested.
The Forest Service closed the area and posted signs warning the public about the possibility of explosives in the woods after finding the camp, Forest Service spokesman Terry Seyden said.
The area remains closed. Safety measures include a new metal gate at the fire road leading to the camp off Yellow Gap Road, warning signs and increased law enforcement patrols.
News of the camp and Hiles arrest surprised some forest users.
“It's bizarre,” said Van Rogers, president of the Pisgah Area Southern Off-road Bicycle Association, who was mountain biking in the Pink Beds area two weeks ago. “I could have been potentially riding around some of that stuff.”
The camp wasn't near a maintained trial, Seyden said.
He said authorities found equipment for making bullets in addition to guns and gunpowder at the camp.
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating, Seyden said. A message left with the agency seeking more details wasn't returned Tuesday.
Federal authorities don't typically discuss ongoing investigations beyond details available in public court documents.
Hiles had not been charged with a federal crime.
Seyden said he did not know how many guns, how much gunpowder or what materials that could be used for making bobby traps were stashed in the woods.
Those details are not public because of the federal investigation, he said.
He also said it is unclear whether any more munitions would be found.
“We don't have hard evidence that there is anything out there,” he said.
He said the burn will cover a large area — up to 400 acres — to make sure firefighters setting and controlling the blaze are safe if hidden ammunition or power explodes. The burn area is much larger than the actual camp area as a safety precaution, Seyden said.
Yellow Gap Road is the same place where hiker Irene Bryant was killed last year.
Georgia drifter Gary Michael Hilton is the only suspect in her death.
Federal authorities in North Carolina are expected to charge him after a state court in Florida tries him for the murder of a woman on national forest land there. The case in Florida is still a year away, prosecutors have said.
Staff writer Mike McWilliams contributed to this article.
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