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Man who was subject of manhunt told undercover trooper about bunker, surveillance cameras

December 03, 2012|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

A Sharpsburg man charged last week with illegal possession of firearms is a "doomsday prepper" who told an undercover Maryland State Police trooper about an underground bunker and surveillance cameras on his property, according to a charging document filed in Washington County District Court.

Terry Allen Porter, 46, of 4433 Mills Road, Sharpsburg, was charged Friday with seven counts each of being a convicted felon in possession of a rifle or shotgun and possession of firearms after being convicted of a disqualifying offense, court records said.

Porter was the subject of a manhunt after his property was searched Thursday. He turned himself in Friday morning and was briefly held on $75,000 bond before posting bail, court records said.

Contacted Monday by The Herald-Mail, Porter declined to comment on his case. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Dec. 19, court records said.

Porter’s criminal record includes a 1992 conviction before a U.S. magistrate in West Virginia for aiding and abetting in the distribution of marijuana, according to the statement of probable cause filed by state police. Porter was sentenced to six months’ incarceration and three years’ probation in the case, the document said.

A person wishing to remain anonymous contacted state police in early November, telling them that Porter “has been getting crazier and crazier over the past several years,” the charging document said. The person told police that Porter had 10 to 15 “machine gun-style firearms,” six handguns and up to 10,000 rounds of ammunition, the document said.

The person told police that Porter was a doomsday prepper who had a bunker under his driveway, as well as surveillance cameras around his property, the charging document said.

Two searches of Porter’s property — one Thursday by warrant and a consent search Friday — turned up four shotguns, a .30-30-caliber rifle and two .22-caliber rifles, the charging document said.

A state police corporal went to Porter’s home Nov. 16, posing as a customer for the business Porter runs from his home, the charging document said. Porter got “very irritated” during a discussion of the recent presidential election and “openly admitted to being a prepper,” the document said.

Porter showed the officer a 10-by-20-foot concrete slab, telling him that beneath it was a bunker with electric, water and septic service that was stocked with food, the charging document said. He also told the officer he  buried refrigerators in the woods containing food and guns, the document said.

Porter also showed the officer his surveillance system and a metal box concealed in a log pile, the charging document said.

“That’s so I can stick my Saiga out there and go to town for when people show up unannounced,” Porter is alleged to have told the officer, according to the charging document. The officer noted in the document that Saiga is the brand name of an AK-47 replica.

The corporal obtained a search warrant Nov. 27 and went to Porter’s home with a state police Special Tactical Assault Team Element, the charging document said. Porter had been seen entering, exiting and entering the house before the warrant was served, but he was not found inside, the document said.

Police believed Porter could have been barricaded in the basement, the charging document said. During that search, police found three shotguns and two .22-caliber rifles, the document said.

Porter turned himself in at the Hagerstown state police barracks at 9:30 a.m. Friday and offered to submit to a consent search of his home to include the bunker, the charging document said. The two other firearms were found during that search, the document said.

A document included with Porter’s district court charges stated that Porter was “cooperative with the investigation.” It also stated that Porter “told authorities that he was not home during the alleged standoff; that he left out the back door.”

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Editor's note: The fifth paragraph of this story was edited Dec. 10, 2012, to correct the charges in a 1992 criminal conviction on Terry Allen Porter's criminal record. A source provided incorrect information to The Herald-Mail.

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