When FBI agents in San Diego seized the cell phone of a suspected white supremacist last year, they discovered text messages with a Georgia sheriff’s deputy boasting of racial violence and preparations for a civil war.
The text message chain, called “Shadow Moses,” between San Diego plumber Grey Zamudio, 33, and 28-year-old Cody Griggers, a former Marine and sheriff’s deputy in Wilkinson County, revealed plans to steal explosives, dry runs with illegal silencers and boasts of racial violence. In one text, Griggers said he hoped law enforcement and the military would join their side in the coming conflict.
“Our only saving grace is that for the time being they have not brainwashed the military completely,” Griggers wrote, according to court records.
Griggers, who was a military policeman stationed in San Diego until his honorable discharge in 2017, said he wished he could “go ahead and fast-forward so I can enjoy the suffering of the abortion that is the American population.”
Twin federal investigations resulted in the arrests and guilty pleas of Giggers and Zamudio on illegal weapons charges that could put them in federal prison for a decade. Zamudio will be sentenced in July; Griggers in August.
But Griggers’ involvement shines a light on the growing concern inside the intelligence community about the far-right radicalization of service members and law enforcement officers.
“They have valuable skills that extremists want,” said Seth Jones, senior vice president at the non-partisan think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Most of them have experiences with small unit tactics, operational security.”
Rooting out extremism within the military is one of U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s expressed priorities. In his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee in January, the Georgia native and retired four-star general said he was “deeply alarmed … by the rise of white supremacists and extremist ideology in the military.”