HOUSTON - November 06, 2015 - Robert James Talbot Jr., 39, of Katy and formerly of Batavia, N.Y., has been ordered to prison following his convictions of attempted interference with commerce by robbery and solicitation to commit a crime of violence, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson and FBI Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner. Talbot pleaded guilty Oct. 3, 2014.
At the sentencing hearing, the government objected to Talbot’s acceptance of responsibility claim and asked for an upward departure, arguing that he poses a significant danger to the public and to law enforcement. The court heard that Talbot’s apology for his crimes is completely contrary to his true state of mind. The prosecutors cited new evidence which showed that his original goals to steal money and to kill those in his path are still intact. The government contended that Talbot is an extremely dangerous individual, who will engage in violent conduct if released. In fact, the court heard arguments that Talbot was attempting to recruit other inmates with upcoming release dates to harm agents as well as prison and court personnel.
During the hearing, the government contended that while the egregious nature of Talbot’s indicted conduct warranted an upward departure, his post-arrest alleged actions raise the most alarming issues. The court heard that Talbot has expressed, in writing and orally, an intent to continue his criminal conduct and exhibit violent behavior upon his release. Therefore, the United States argued for a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in order to protect the community.
The defense argued that Talbot has apologized for his actions. The court also heard the defense’s contention that he has “diminished capacity” and needs mental health treatment.
Ultimately, U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein Jr. considered the evidence and Talbot’s arguments and sentenced him to 78 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. He further ordered him to be psychologically evaluated and receive mental health treatment.
Talbot was arrested in March 2014 following an eight-month undercover investigation by the FBI Houston Domestic Terrorism Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). Talbot had 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 attempted to solicit people in his plans to attack the “collars” in Washington, D.C., “taking back” the government by force. Talbot further planned to conduct two to three “training missions” at mosques prior to engaging their primary targets in Washington. He wanted to attack the mosques when they were full of people, killing as many men, women and children as possible. Talbot further advocated robbing banks to obtain funds to purchase additional weapons and ammunition.
Talbot further admitted he had created a Facebook page titled “American Insurgent Movement” (AIM). He described the 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.”
On or about March 27, 2014, Talbot met with individuals whom he believed he had recruited to his group at a storage facility in Houston where he provided instructions for the robbery of an armored car. At that time, he provided detailed maps for the location of the robbery which further provided escape routes in order to quickly evade law enforcement. Talbot also took two explosive devices made of Composition 4 (C4) that were in the storage facility and placed them into his backpack.
Talbot then told the individuals how to block the armored car with their vehicles to prevent it from leaving the location and that he would then place an explosive device on it. Talbot was armed with his Glock 31 and had a fully-loaded 15-round magazine in his backpack. Using profanity, Talbot discussed his plan to kill the driver and steal the money from the car.
Talbot also provided a “manifesto” which was read to the group.
“We must rebel. There is no other option. Blood and bullets are the only two things that will change this world, short of divine action.”
The FBI Houston Division Special Weapons and Tactics Team arrested Talbot shortly thereafter.
He will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
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 Police Department; Houston Metro Police Department; Harris County Sheriff’s Office; and the U.S. Marshals Service.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carolyn Ferko and Jim McAlister are prosecuting the case.
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas
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