Man Charged in Alleged Plot to Overthrow West Virginia

WOOD COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A Wood County, W.Va. man has been charged with threats of terroristic acts after allegedly making a plan to take over the State Capitol in West Virginia.

The arrest has called for extra security measures to be taken at the State Capitol in Charleston Thursday, according to state officials.

According to the criminal complaint, Thomas Deegan, 39, of Mineral Wells, is a self proclaimed Sovereign Citizen, who made several conference calls this month, and stated his plan to take over the government.

During the calls, West Virginia State Police say Deegan solicited help in removing multiple West Virginia politicians from their offices in Charleston. He claimed that following their removal, their offices would be assumed by members of the Sovereign Citizen movement, and the officials would be charged with crimes like treason.

Investigators say Deegan made statements that court hearings would be held for the officials and if they were convicted of treason, their punishment would be death.

According to the complaint, Deegan said West Virginia would be the foot-hold for the Sovereign movement to take back the United States.

He allegedly told people wishing to participate that on September 24, go to the West Virginia State Capitol, West Virginia State Police Office, Kanawha County Sheriff's Office and West Virginia National Guard Facilities in Kanawha County.

Investigators say Deegan suggested in order to accommodate lodging for all people coming for the movement, that local hotels would be overtaken and compensated after the movement had secured the state. He said the form of compensation would be according to the laws of the Sovereign union.

According to the complaint, he suggested that "any resistance to combat law enforcement or military personnel should be met with gunfire if necessary."

Investigators say Deegan stated, "We are at war" and "The more bodies that come to Charleston, the less likely for bloodhsed." He allegedly said he did not want to have shots fired, but will fire upon opposition forces if necessary, according to the complaint.

When Deegan was asked if the police would support them, he allegedly responded, "If you see the police coming and pulling up in a vehicle, I suggest you shoot them," according to the complaint.

Deegan was arrested late Wednesday night. He is being charged with threats of terroristic acts and is being held on $300,000 cash bail.

Lawrence Messina, with the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety released the following statement:
"State officials became aware of information being circulated through social media, and have since taken appropriate steps to ensure the safety of public employees, national guard personnel, law enforcement personnel, and visitors of such facilities at the state capitol grounds."