Terry Jones of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainsville, Fla., in 2010. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images / September 11, 2013)
By Matt Pearce and Connie Stewart
September 11, 2013, 7:34 p.m.
Radical anti-Islam preacher Terry Jones was arrested on felony charges Wednesday for transporting a trailer filled with kerosene-soaked Korans, Florida officials said.
Jones was on his way to a Sept. 11 event where he planned to burn 2,998 of the Muslim holy books, according to local news reports. He is best known for stoking Muslim anger by publicly desecrating Korans, sometimes with international consequences.
“My detectives had many conversations with Terry Jones prior to today,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement. “He was told he was welcome to come to Polk County and express his first amendment rights. However, if he violated the law, he would absolutely be arrested and placed in the county jail.
“On Sept. 11, he arrived in Polk County, violated the law and our detectives arrested him and booked him into the county jail, just as he was informed,” Judd said.
A Jones associate, Marvin Wayne Sapp Jr., was also arrested.
Jones had planned to set alight 2,998 Korans at a Polk County park for the 12-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the U.S., with each Koran “representing one of the victims, every person who was murdered by Islam,” according to one of his news releases — a casualty total that perhaps accidentally included the 19 hijackers.
He faces charges of unlawfully conveying fuel and of openly carrying a firearm. Officials said Jones and Sapp doused a stack of Korans with kerosene in a smoker/trailer, then dangerously transported it on a state road. Jones also allegedly carried a handgun on his hip in plain view while at a McDonald’s in Mulberry, Fla.
Sapp faces charges of unlawfully conveying fuel, as well as multiple traffic citations.