When 20 armed agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms stormed Larry Gereaux's single-wide trailer in Deer Creek Thursday, his neighbors were not surprised.
"We've been concerned about him ever since he moved in," a nearby resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said. "He's kind of a fanatic who wears camouflaged clothes and always carries a gun."
Gereaux's behavior also concerned federal agents. They began investigating the resident of Deer Creek, a subdivision 14 miles south of Payson, six months ago for possession and sale of illegal firearms and explosive devices.
ATF agents and Department of Public Safety officers served a federal search warrant on Gereaux's property at 10 a.m. Thursday.
"All of a sudden we saw all these SWAT team guys running up pointing their guns and we knew something was going on," Gereaux's neighbor said.
The undercover agents were looking for various components for making explosive devices and explosives, as well as silencers, illegal firearms and related equipment, which they suspected he was selling from his home.
Gereaux operates a survivalist Web site where he markets sniper rifles, kits to convert semi-automatic rifles to fully automatic and recipes for making homemade C4 explosives. During the ATF's investigation, Gereaux sold grenades to undercover agents, said ATF spokesman Tom Mangan.
During the raid, agents confiscated a number of homemade hand grenades and the materials used to manufacture them, several fully automatic machine guns, black powder and a sawed-off shotgun .
Agents arrested Gereaux on federal firearm and explosives violations. He was taken into custody without incident a short distance from his home at the rest stop at the corner of highways 87 and 188, ATF Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge Joe Gordon said. He was arrested and charged with federal firearms and explosives violations, and was released later that same day.
Gereaux could not be reached for comment.
His neighbors observed that numerous freight line and UPS shipments were delivered to his home almost on a daily basis.
"He would set up a table outside his house and sell guns and offer free soup to patrons," one neighbor said. "Everything he does is unusual. He even has guns and kegs of gun powder in the same place where he does a lot of welding."