FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. — Two United States Air Force Staff Sergeants have been arrested, accused of a scheme to steal ammunition at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane County.
United States Air Force Staff Sergeants John I. Sanger and Eric A. Eagleton were arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit theft of government property, according to The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington.
Sanger, Eagleton, and other conspirators are alleged to have stolen thousands of rounds of ammunition, according to charging documents. They are also accused of falsifying records at Fairchild Air Force Base to conceal the theft.
According to court documents, the investigation into Sanger began in August of 2021, related to two social media accounts where the user "was discussing committing acts of violence to further his political agenda."
The court documents say that when Sanger was asked on social media on Dec. 2, 2020 "what 'taking our government back' looked like, Sanger responded, 'I think the capital (sic) needs to be seized... No trial or chance to escape.'" On Dec. 6, court documents state Sanger posted, "They defrauded our election system and are still getting away with it. That means this system has run it's (sic) course. People have to die."
As part of the investigation, an active-duty USAF undercover agent was introduced to Sanger.
In early March of 2022, court documents state that Sanger invited the undercover agent to a meetup at Fishtrap Lake shooting range. Sanger allegedly told the agent that several members of the 92nd Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms Training Management (CATM) section "regularly steal USAF ammunition."
On March 12, the agent and Sanger met up with Eagleton. Court documents say Eagleton told the agent he worked at Fairchild in the CATM section.
"Eagleton detailed stealing up to 3,000 rounds in a day and dividing the stolen ammunition between all members of the CATM section. Eagleton stated all members of the CATM section are aware of the ongoing thefts and allow it to occur," according to court documents.
After meeting up with some other people, the undercover agent said they observed three full ammunition cans.
Later in the month, the undercover agent (U/C) and Sanger exchanged text messages that court documents state detailed Sanger's plan to meet Eagleton to receive stolen ammunition from Fairchild AFB. Court documents share a portion of the text messages:
Sanger: "Eagle (Eagleton) can hook us up with some rounds. Dude's awesome."
U/C: "Really? How much does he want for them?"
Sanger: "Nothing. It's stolen."
U/C: "Seriously? Bro that's awesome. Think we can get them before Saturday's range day?"
Sanger: "Yeah he's solid man. I'm gonna (sic) get the ammo tomorrow."
Court documents state that on March 29 agents observed Eagleton and Sanger meet in the parking lot of Northern Quest Resort and Casino. Eagleton was seen getting a military-style green ammunition can from the back of his truck and handing the can to Sanger. The meetup was also captured by casino cameras.
Later that day, Sanger texted the undercover agent. Court documents share part of the text exchange:
Sanger: "But I got the ammo."
Sanger: "No. No mags this time. 394."
Court documents state that Sanger also texted a photo of ammunition that resembled 5.56mm rounds.
“As the U.S. Attorney, I will not tolerate any abuse of trust by those charged with protecting our great Nation and community,” U.S. Attorney Vanessa Waldref said in a written statement. “So many of those who serve at Fairchild Air Force Base are career public servants who sacrifice their time, energy, and even their lives to keep America safe. When individuals put their own interests ahead of others and abuse the public trust, those individuals dishonor the countless public servants who dedicate their lives to government and military service.”
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Seattle Field Office, Inland Northwest Joint Terrorism Task Force (“INJTTF”), and the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI).
“Members of our nation’s armed forces swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” Donald M. Voiret, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Seattle Field Office, said in a written statement. “There is no exception to set aside this oath to achieve personal goals. The FBI, along with our partners in the Air Force and U.S. Attorney’s Office, are upholding our oaths and ending this criminal conspiracy.”