Posted by: Ann Corcoran | May 23, 2013

Sharpsburg: Case that brought a SWAT team to rural town ends with plea deal

The State’s case against local businessman Terry Porter that began with an over-zealous no-knock search warrant event followed by a firestorm of public criticism back in November when a massive police force, including the FBI, came to the rural countryside of Washington County, Maryland to arrest a “dangerous” prepper, ended quietly with the state tucking its tail and allowing Porter to return, with unsupervised probation, to his normal quiet life.

Terry Porter. Photo from ‘Friends for Terry’ Facebook page

By having offered Porter a plea deal the State of Maryland has essentially admitted that the whole subject of the costly and potentially dangerous SWAT on Porter had gone very wrong and the sooner the whole mess was forgotten the happier the Maryland State Police would be.  (Can you hear those sighs of relief coming out of the MSP firearms unit in Pikesville today!)

For readers unfamiliar with the case, please review our special category entitled Sharpsburg SWAT‘ for background.

Author/investigator James Simpson, writing at Accuracy in Media last month, penned a thorough summary of what went wrong in Sharpsburg and gives us some idea of what the State did not want aired in a lengthy trial.

Simpson (emphasis mine):

Sharpsburg, Maryland, population 706, is a quiet little town bordering the Antietam National Battlefield in rural Washington County. On Thursday, November 29, 2012 at about 12:30 pm, the quiet was shattered by an invasion of over 150 Maryland State Police (MSP), FBI, State Fire Marshal’s bomb squad, and County SWAT teams, complete with two police helicopters, two Bearcat “special response” vehicles, mobile command posts, snipers, police dogs, bomb disposal truck, bomb sniffing robots, and a huge excavator. They even brought in food trucks.

A heavily armed MSP Special Tactical Assault Team Element (STATE) executed a no-knock search warrant, smashing through the reportedly unlocked door with a battering ram. They worked until after 7:30 p.m., ransacking a modest, 20 ft. by 60 ft. single-family home for weapons, and searching for its owner, one Terry Porter. For hours, neighbors were left worrying and wondering, while countless police blanketed the area.

Local resident Tim Franquist described the scene:

“The event, or siege as we are calling it, involved convoys of police speeding to the area, two helicopters, armored vehicles, command centers, countless police cruisers and officers. They blocked off the roads and commandeered a campground as their staging area.”

Terry Porter is married with three children, has lived in the town all of his life, and owns a modest welding business. He is also a prepper. His preparations include an underground bunker, buried food supplies, and surveillance cameras. Porter really doesn’t like Obama, and tells anyone who will listen.

One of the largest raids in US history, continued Simpson:

The raid was one of the largest in recent U.S. history, twice the size of the 1993 Branch Davidian raid in Waco, Texas, which initially involved 76 ATF agents. It almost rivaled the recent 200-strong statewide manhunt for California cop-killing cop, Christopher Dorner. Yet only a few local stories emerged and those presented a hysterical portrait of Porter while largely underreporting the police presence.

What did it cost the taxpayers? 

Simpson estimated the cost of the raid that lasted from approximately 12:30 p.m. until it was called off at 7:30 p.m. at $11,000 per hour.   By evening, and with no sign of Porter, I believe those having commandeered Porter’s modest home likely determined they were on shaky legal ground just by being there.

This raid cost approximately $11,000 per hour, which dramatically illustrates one reason government spending is so wildly out of control.

Read it all (…Road to Impeachment).  Overzealous SWATs are a growing problem across America.

This morning in Washington County:

Today, in Washington County Circuit Court, Porter plead guilty to two charges, one for violating public safety and another for owning some rifles and shotguns (no mention of assault weapons now!) which  he was not permitted to have in his possession due to a twenty-year-old felony conviction.  Those charges could have netted him 20 years in jail.  Instead, the “dangerous” man who was the subject of an eight hour “manhunt” last fall walked out of court with no jail time, no fine, and only two years of unsupervised probation.

Evidently the State of Maryland decided that he wasn’t a menace to Maryland (or America) after all.   That, readers, is something they could have found out with a simple search warrant served  by a local police officer or two quietly visiting his home in the first place.

Update:  Here is what the Hagerstown Herald Mail said about today’s court decision.

Shades of the IRS targeting scandal?  You will never convince me that Governor Martin O’Malley (looking for Obama brownie points) was not looking for a high profile take-down of a conservative gun owner just before the Newtown, CT nut tragically provided Obama with all the reason he needed to push the gun control issue to the forefront in Washington.

And, here is my message to the Dept. of Homeland Security and the FBI—while you were busy raiding Americans like Terry Porter, you missed the warnings about the Boston bomber Muslim terrorists and many people died and others were horribly injured for life.  How about getting your priorities straight!

Endnote:  Maryland is one of only a few states with a SWAT reporting law that resulted from the hard work of a man who was wrongly SWATTED, please visit Blue Ridge Forum for more on the law.  Marylanders must be diligent  in the 2014 session of the legislature to make sure this law is extended and strengthened.


  1. […] off to a trial today for a man wrongly SWATTED by Maryland State Police and the FBI last year.  He is the kind of man, […]

  2. Thank you for keeping me on your email list, Ann. I appreciate receiving your informative reports! Jan

  3. 1. Unsubstantiated, anonymous reports to the police are one of the most dangerous things facing ordinary, unaware Americans on a daily basis.
    2. Allowing such an anonymous person to remain anonymous once the matter enters the court system is a serious denial of an accused’s right to face his accusers. Even accusers of rape are not denied this right.
    3. Terry Porter was effectively convicted of having a conviction on his record, and of desiring to make this mess go away.

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