- Trident Lakes, a doomsday getaway for the rich, is being investigated by the FBI as a possible front for a Colombian drug trafficking scheme.
- The buzzy Texas condo development promised hundreds of fortified, underground condos where the 1% could live out the apocalypse.
- The FBI has filed against a criminal complaint against the Trident Lakes owner for allegedly laundering money he believed to be from Colombian drug dealers, according to the report.
A much-hyped $US330 million condo development outside Dallas, Texas, had an unusual pitch for prospective buyers. It combined decadence and “DEFCON 1 preparedness,” its proprietors claimed, making it the place for wealthy individuals to ride out the apocalypse in comfort and style.
Called Trident Lakes, the luxury residential community is now being investigated by the FBI as a possible front for a money laundering scheme, according to Dallas news station CBS 11.
A federal criminal complaint has been filed against Trident Lakes owner and manager John Eckerd and an unnamed co-conspirator, alleging the pair accepted money they believed to be proceeds from the Colombian drug trade but was actually money from undercover FBI agents, according to documents obtained by CBS 11.
The federal sting reached a climax earlier this year when Eckerd allegedly agreed to launder $US1 million from Colombian drug dealers through Trident Lakes.
Eckerd reportedly faces two counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He’s also being sued by at least one person who said their investment in a tire business was diverted to Trident Lakes for Eckerd’s personal gain, according to the report.
Located along a highway north of Dallas, Trident Lakes promised to be one of the most unique gated communities in the US. The development plans included a spa, a gun range, an extravangant, 18-hole golf course, and 532 fortified, subterranean condos built to withstand the catastrophic events from viral epidemic to nuclear war.
The condo prices ranged from $US449,000 to $US1.9 million, according to the FAQ page on the Trident Lakes website. It’s unknown if any people bought property there.
A former spokesperson for Trident Lakes told Business Insider via email in 2017 that the development was still “in the early stages of development.”
“We’re building more of an interactive, sustainable community, rather than just a hole in the ground to hide in,” the spokesperson said in that email. “Trident Lakes will be an above-ground country club resort with all the bells and whistles, but also – if need be – one of the safest places on Earth in our underground condominiums and communal living spaces.”
After the election of President Donald Trump in 2016, Americans took up new interest in doomsday preparations, as the possibility of a new Cold War set in. One company that manufactures and installs bunkers said it saw business climb over 500% in 2017.
Trident Lakes began accepting applications from potential residents in early 2017, though a spokesperson said at the time that the first round of enrollment was by invitation only. The company invited doomsday preppers to join the waitlist.
It’s unclear how much of the development has been built, though neighbours at the mobile home park across from Trident Lakes told CBS 11 that they have seen no construction.
Eckerd, the development owner, has been out on bail since March, CBS 11 reported.
Eckerd’s attorney, Dallas defence lawyer Bob Webster, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Representatives for Trident Lakes and the FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.