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Search Continues for Valrico ‘Doomsday Prepper’

The FBI has been investigating Martin Howard Winters on charges of manufacturing illegal weapons.

Martin Winters. Photo courtesy of the FBI
Martin Winters. Photo courtesy of the FBI

The search for a 55-year-old Martin Winters of Valrico continues this morning following a June 16 manhunt in the eastern Hillsborough County area.

FBI officials have described Winters as “extremely dangerous” and have identified him as the focus of an investigation into the manufacturer of illegal weapons, including pipe bombs, Bay News 9 reports.

An attempt to bring Winters in on a federal warrant went south on Monday, June 16, as he eluded capture in Plant City, the station reports. Winters ran into a wooded area near Durant High School, causing a brief lockdown. Helicopters and a SWAT team were brought in, but he got away.

“Just wanted to confirm that Winters remains at large this morning - we are continuing our search efforts to find him today,” Special Agent Dave Couvertier, the FBI’s Tampa spokesman wrote in an email to media Tuesday morning.

Winters is said to be the leader of the “River Otter Preppers,” according to The Tampa Tribune. That group is “preparing for an end-of-times event as prophesied by the Book of Revelations in the Bible which he believes will occur in the near future,’’ the FBI wrote in a probable cause statement.

Anyone with information about Winters is asked to contact the Tampa FBI Field Office at 813- 253-1000.

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