Tennessee Man Plotted to Bring Guns and Explosives to the Border, FBI Says

The grievances and conspiracy theories that motivated the man’s violent plot are the same ones that brought the “God’s Amy” convoy to the southern border last week.
Texas National Guard troops stop a group of immigrants near the U.S.-Mexico border wall on the El Paso, Texas side of the border across from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The immigrants were then allowed to proceed for further processing by U.S. Border Patrol agents. (Photo byJohn Moore/Getty Images)

A Tennessee man, galvanized by anti-immigrant rhetoric about an “invasion,” plotted to launch an attack on migrants and federal law enforcement at the southern border using explosives and sniper rifles, according to the FBI.

Paul Faye, of Montgomery County, Tennessee, was arrested late last week on gun charges, as first reported by Seamus Hughes, a senior researcher at the University of Nebraska Omaha's National Counterterrorism Innovation, Technology, and Education Center, via his site Courtwatch. 


Faye allegedly plotted his attack at the border for at least a year, and sought to recruit others. 

In December, Faye unwittingly told undercover FBI employees that he was hoping to coordinate with militias from Kentucky, Georgia, and Tennessee, and had been in touch with a member of the North Carolina Patriot Party, which court documents describe as a militia, about traveling to the border around Jan. 20. 

“The patriots are going to rise up because we are being invaded. We are being invaded,” Faye told the undercover agent last year. He claimed that the government was “training to take on its citizens,” according to court documents, and that the Biden Administration was intentionally allowing illegal immigration into the U.S. as part of a nefarious plot. 

The grievances and conspiracy theories that drove Faye to hatch his violent plot are the exact same ones that brought the “God’s Amy” protest convoy to the southern border last weekend.

Faye’s allusion to an “invasion” at the southern border is the exact same language that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and his political allies have used to justify their ongoing defiance of the federal government over border enforcement. Donald Trump, on the campaign trail, has also frequently characterized undocumented immigrants coming over the border as “an invasion.” 


Faye’s arrest shows how violent extremists and would-be “lone wolves” are closely unified with the broader GOP when it comes to rhetoric about the border, and demonstrates the dangers of normalizing that kind of incendiary language in mainstream environments.

Faye said that he hoped an attack at the border would “stir up the hornet’s nest,” and inspire others to join him. “What’s going to happen. What I hope happens. Is called a domino effect,” he said, according to court documents. 

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The FBI say it became aware of Faye following the March 2023 indictment of Brian Perry, a militia member from Tennessee who, with another militia member, conspired to “go to war with border patrol” and murder migrants at the border. Investigators found that Perry had had “extensive” contact with Faye in the lead-up to his arrest. 

An undercover FBI employee contacted Faye via TikTok, and once Faye felt confident his new confidant was not a fed, he began talking about his weapons training and weaponry. 

The FBI says Faye wanted to train in person with the undercover FBI employee, who he thought was joining in with his plan. He made a few remarks about needing to acquire certain tactical equipment, and implied, according to the FBI, that they’d be able to get those items from “deceased Border Patrol agents.” 

Last summer, Faye told the undercover employee that it was “time to step things up” and said he was gathering things that go “boom boom boom when you want them to” and “a few things that go bang and go fast if you know what I mean.” 

Faye said one of his roles with the group that was planning to travel to the border last month was to be a sniper. He told the undercover employee that his talent was “sending down range,” which they interpreted to mean shooting at people while on the border. “I’ll be the first one on the scene, and the last one to leave,” Faye said. “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 [of ] that roof right there, zeroing out, taking out anybody.”

He showed undercover employees his “war room,” which included a large amount of ammo, a bulletproof vest, and numerous firearms including multiple AR-15s and a Creedmoor rifle, which is popular among snipers. He’d said he was in possession of tannerite, which he said could be “easily converted into claymore mines” according to court documents, and said he knew someone in Tennessee who could make IEDs. He also said he’d planted butane tanks around his property, which he could blow up if law enforcement ever arrived. 

Faye has been charged with possession of an unregistered silencer, which was affixed to the 6.5 Creedmoor rifle. The government is seeking Faye’s detention pending the outcome of the trial.