Arizona man indicted for plans to start a ‘race war’ with mass shooting

The Department of Justice indicted a
Prescott area man this week based on allegations that he planned to
shoot up a Bad Bunny concert in Atlanta to initiate a “race war.” 

Mark Adams Prieto, 58, was indicted by a federal grand jury on firearms trafficking, transfer of a firearm for use in a hate crime and possession of an unregistered firearm. 

The indictment alleges that between
January and May, Prieto discussed his plan to commit a mass shooting
against Black people and other minorities to incite a race war prior to
the 2024 Presidential Election. Prieto did not know he was speaking
with a confidential informant and an agent from the Phoenix Field Office
of the FBI.

Prieto’s intended target was a rap
concert in Atlanta that was set to be held on May 14 and May 15 at the
State Farm Arena. The venue website shows that Puerto Rican rapper and
singer Bad Bunny was scheduled to perform on those dates. 

Prieto came onto the FBI’s radar when
a confidential source told them that Prieto had expressed a desire to
incite a race war prior to the presidential election. The source and
Prieto had spoken at various gun shows but the small talk turned
political and, eventually, violent. 

Within the last year the source told
the FBI that Prieto began “making suspicious and alarming comments,
including advocating for a mass shooting, and specifically targeting
‘blacks, Jews, or Muslims,’” according to a complaint filed by the FBI
in Arizona Federal Court.

Prieto told the source he believed
that martial law would be implemented after the 2024 election and that
the mass shooting should occur prior to that. The Prescott man also
asked the source if he was “ready to kill a bunch of people” and
recruited him for the attack, also asking if the source could help
recruit others. 

The FBI then conducted surveillance
and a sting operation at local gun shows where Prieto was a vendor to
obtain the information for the indictment. Prieto was a vendor at the
popular Crossroads of the West gun show where he sold guns from his private collection and said he preferred “off book” trades in cash for his weapons. 

Eventually, the source and an undercover FBI agent spoke with Prieto at a Crossroads of the West gun show at the Arizona State Fairgrounds when Prieto ended up sharing his plan with the two men. 

He said he wanted to “commit crimes
of violence against African Americans in Atlanta,” court records show
and that he specifically wanted to target a rap concert.  

“The reason I say Atlanta. Why, why
is Georgia such a f—-up state now? When I was a kid that was one of the
most conservative states in the country,” Prieto said to the agent and
source. “Why is it not now? Because as the crime got worse in LA, St.
Louis, and all these other cities, all the n—— moved out of those
(places) and moved to Atlanta. That’s why it isn’t so great anymore. And
they’ve been there for a couple, several years.”

Prieto also planned to leave
confederate flags after the shooting to “send a message” that “we’re
going to fight back now, and every whitey will be the enemy across the
whole country.” 

He later added that the men should
show “no mercy, no quarter” as he said that they “can’t have any
feeling, they’re not people. They’re monsters as far as I’m concerned.” 

The complaint filed in federal court
also alleges that Prieto urged the men to destroy the weapons after and
wear gloves and also said the attack should occur following Super Tuesday so they would know which candidates were likely to make it onto the November ballot. 

At another gun show in February in
Phoenix, Prieto spoke to the source and immediately asked if he and the
undercover agent were “still a go for the attack.” He then provided
advice to the two men on the plan of attack and advised them to have two
rifles and a sniper as well as a handgun for back up. 

“You want to corral them. And some
people might be trying to leave out of a corner, and you want to blast
those guys. Once (they) get the idea that they are trapped then there is
pandemonium,” Prieto said to the source and undercover agent. “Now
they’re in a panic. And they can’t get out. Now they are going to be
crawling over each other to get out.” 

Prieto also said that he wanted to
make it clear that the attack was racially motivated and told the men to
shout “whities out here killing, what’s we gonna do” and “KKK all the
way” among other racially charged sayings. 

He also emphasized that it was
important for the attack to lead to a high body count and said that
“these people don’t belong here in this country anyway, okay.” He also
advised who he thought were his accomplices to use weapons that don’t
have a paper trail. 

He would later sell an AK-47 to the undercover agent for $2,000 cash. 

In March at a gun show in Prescott
Valley the undercover agent asked Prieto if the plan was just talk or if
they were actually going to do it. 

“If you wait till after the election,
they might have everything in place you can’t even drive, you’ll be
stopped,” Prieto answered. “I want to try to put the guns in place by
ten if we can’t do it before they put everything in place.” 

He also confirmed with the undercover agent that the target would be the Bad Bunny concert in Atlanta. 

On May 14, Prieto was arrested in New
Mexico and told authorities he was traveling to Florida to see his
mother. He admitted that he knew both the undercover agent and the
source and had discussed attacking a concert to start a revolution but
denied that it was actually going to happen. 

He was found with five firearms in
his vehicle and more at his residence. He also admitted to selling the
firearm to the undercover agent. 

If convicted for firearms trafficking
and transfer of a firearm for use in a hate crime, Prieto could see a
maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both. A
conviction for possession of an unregistered firearm carries a maximum
penalty of 10 years in prison. 

The government petitioned the court
to keep Prieto detained until he has his initial hearing because of the
gravity of the crimes he is accused of committing.