‘Prepper’ faces new charges in superseding indictment
Four months after federal agents raided his home and reportedly discovered an archive of child pornography and an underground bunker complete with a vast arsenal of weaponry, a Waldorf man faces additional charges from a superseding indictment in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt.
Caleb Andrew Bailey, 30, who had been elect-
ed in April’s primary as a delegate to attend the Republican National Convention in support of Donald Trump, reportedly had 14 machine guns, 14 unregistered short-barreled rifles, 20 grenade launchers, six thermite grenades, as well as an untold number of legally-owned firearms stashed inside the hidden bunker, according to court records. In a detention hearing in late May, Bailey’s attorney — arguing in favor of a bond — told the court that the vast majority of the weapons were legal.
In the initial indictment, Bailey had been charged with unlawful transport of explosives by a non-licensee, illegal possession of a machine gun, production and attempted production of child pornography and possession of child pornography. Though, prosecutors said in court that another indictment was imminent as investigators continued to test the weapons with concern of legality.
The recent indictment charges Bailey for the additional firearms found to be illegal, many of which had been converted to fire automatically, according to court records and proceedings. He was also charged for possessing the grenades and launchers or “unregistered destructive devices,” and an additional count for witness tampering.
The case began after a package, reportedly mailed by Bailey, ruptured at a U.S. Postal Service facility in February. Inside the package, which was addressed to a firearms store in Wisconsin, police found illegal explosive ammunition.
When police raided Bailey’s home in May, they recovered an enormous cache of weapons, hidden cameras and an archive of child pornography — about 600 videos, prosecutors said. Some appeared to have been downloaded from the internet, but the government claims Bailey also used hidden cameras to secretly record three naked teenage boys so he could later watch them for his own sexual satisfaction, according to court proceedings.
“He’s secretive. He’s a ghost,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Sykes during the May detention hearing. “He’s deceived so many people … these minors who trusted him.”
On a hard drive recovered by police, investigators found folders named after each of the three boys, court proceedings revealed. Inside the folders were sub-folders labeled “hidden camera videos,” prosecutors said. Footage from the bathroom camera is aimed toward the shower, focused on the boys’ genitals.
“This was not inadvertent,” Sykes said. “This was purposeful.”
As of the hearing in May, law enforcement had not yet interviewed the three boys, and prosecutors expressed concern that their relationship with Bailey may influence them. Bailey had befriended them and often rode ATVs with them, court proceedings revealed.
Just before the police raid, one of the boys, allegedly directed by Bailey, ran out of the house with a laptop, a camera and an external hard drive, which contained child pornography, and attempted to hide it in the woods, court records indicate. This alleged incident formed the basis for the witness tampering charge listed in the superseding indictment.
U.S. District Judge Paul Grimm noted that it is well documented that victims in child porn cases are often “groomed” by the perpetrator, and the fact that the boys have not been interviewed could suggest they are unwilling or afraid to talk to the government.
Grimm, who retired as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, called the weapons cache discovered in Bailey’s underground bunker “simply jaw-dropping in its magnitude,” adding that he has never seen an arsenal of that size.
While defense attorney William Brennan Jr. conceded to some of the allegations, he argued that Bailey was not dangerous or a flight-risk. Rather, Bailey is a “prepper,” he said, and explained why Bailey had established a hidden camera in the bathroom.
“The government prefers to call it a bunker; we prefer to call it a safe room,” Brennan said. “The vast majority of the weapons ... were in fact legal.”
“We agree there were a lot of weapons in there,” he said, but pointed out that there were items consistent with post-disaster survival preparation in the bunker, such as large jugs of water, flash lights, first-aid kits and MRE (Meals Ready to Eat) rations.
Regarding the hidden camera in the bathroom, Brennan told the court that Bailey had originally placed it there to catch a former roommate that Bailey suspected of using drugs, kicking him out of the house upon discovery. Brennan did not deny that Bailey was in possession of child pornography downloaded from the internet, but said he did not manufacture it himself by using the cameras.
“Mr. Bennett, how did the family not know about it?” asked Grimm, who also wondered how Bailey could afford to amass such an array of weapons.
His family knew he collected firearms, Brennan said, but “they absolutely did not know the extent of this.”
Brennan indicated that Bailey may have siphoned off some of his family’s property.
Bailey lives alone in the house, located on a 75acre plot of land owned by his father who owns a wholesale lumber business, according to court proceedings.
The Bailey family had agreed to post Caleb’s bond with a property valued around $1.5 million. U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Day agreed to these terms, with conditions that Bailey live with his sister in St. Mary’s County. She would act as a third-party custodian while Caleb’s parents would supervise him in her absence to ensure he did not violate his conditions of release, which included no internet access, according to court proceedings.
However, Day stayed his order of release upon appeal from Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Windom and Sykes, and transferred the case to U.S. District Court to be heard by Grimm.
Ultimately, Grimm ruled in favor of the government, meaning Bailey will remain in custody to await trial, unless conditions of release can be agreed upon.
Bailey’s next hearing date has not been set.