US expat charged with threatening to kill GOP senator and Marines
The FBI arrested Eric Charles Welton, 51, at the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport as he returned to the U.S. from overseas.
An American citizen living in Thailand was arrested after allegedly threatening a North Carolina Republican senator and congressional staffers as well as U.S. Marines, prosecutors said.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina announced Tuesday that the FBI arrested Eric Charles Welton, 51, at the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport as he returned to the U.S. from overseas.
Welton "made multiple harassing and intimidating calls to the offices of Republican elected officials and associated organizations in the United States due to a large number of unsolicited political emails he claimed he was receiving," prosecutors said. He also threatened to cut off the hands of the person that sent him the emails, according to the criminal complaint.
"In September of 2021, he allegedly spoke with a staff member at the Senator’s Raleigh office and, among other things, threatened to show up and 'put a bullet through each of [their] heads,'" prosecutors also said.
While prosecutors do not name the senator who was allegedly threatened, Welton is accused of threatening North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis and former Sen. Richard Burr, who has since retired, according to ABC Eyewitness News.
The complaint also alleges that in October and November 2022, Welton issued threats against U.S. Marines and others at the U.S. Consulate in Thailand. In one voicemail, he allegedly said he was "going to kill a bunch of Marines" because he was angry about an immigration issue.
Welton currently faces one charge of threatening a federal official, which carries up to ten years in prison if he is convicted. Prosecutors said they may bring additional charges against Welton.