FPSRussia Raid: Kyle Myers's Property Searched By Federal Agents
The Huffington Post | By Hunter Stuart Posted: 03/29/2013 2:32 pm EDT | Updated: 03/29/2013 4:47 pm EDT
The Georgia residence of Kyle Myers, maker of the popular weapons and explosives YouTube series FPSRussia, was raided by 40 agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) on Tuesday, according to the Athens Banner-Herald.
The federal agents, accompanied by members of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, also conducted a search of Myers's father's nearby farm, where FPSRussia is sometimes filmed, reports northeast Georgia radio station WHLR.
Myers's FPSRussia series features him demonstrating advanced weaponry, including machine guns, tanks and drones.
But what was the justification for the raid? ATF spokesman Richard Coes told the Banner-Herald: "The claim is that [Myers] was using explosives and getting paid for it via YouTube."
Myers has used the substance Tannerite in his videos. While the powder explosive is legal in the U.S., Business Insider points out that the manufacturing of explosives for business purposes is illegal without a federal license.
Under YouTube's partner program, amateur video producers can earn money from the site if their videos are watched enough times. Myers's YouTube channel, which has garnered over half a billion views, is part of the site's partner program.
Seeming to contradict the ATF's statement
, Franklin County Sheriff Stevie Thomas told WHLR that Tuesday's raids were in connection with the investigation into the suspected murder of Myers's former business partner, Keith Ratliff, who was found dead from a single gunshot to the head in January in the office of FPS Industries, the weapons testing business he owned.
The ATF did not return a request for comment from The Huffington Post.
Myers's colleague, Kitty Walden, told Guns.com that Myers was always careful about obeying the law.
“If it ever came to doing something outside of our legal boundaries, we would then work with someone who was legally authorized to do it in an approved location,” said Wandel, who is a producer of FPSRussia. "We can only hope this helps [the ATF] understand how we make our money, so it doesn’t hurt another YouTuber."
It is unclear whether any items were seized during Tuesday's raid.