Grand Jury Indicts 2 Men Who Planned to Attack Dem. Party Building After Trump Lost: 'Extremely Disturbing'
Two California men have been indicted by a federal court in San Francisco on conspiracy charges to attack and destroy the John L. Burton Democratic Headquarters in Sacramento.
Ian Benjamin Rogers, 45, of Napa, and Jarrod Copeland, 37, of Vallejo were indicted on July 7 and the Department of Justice unsealed the documents on Friday that accuse them of "conspiracy to destroy by fire or explosive a building used or in affecting interstate commerce."
That month, Rogers allegedly texted Copeland through encrypted messages that he wanted to "hit the enemy in the mouth" using explosives to attack democratic buildings including the Governor's Mansion and the Democratic Headquarters Building in Sacramento, the DOJ revealed.
Copeland told Rogers in December that he had contacted an anti-government militia for support in a planned attack.
"I want to blow up a democrat building bad," Rogers told Copeland in January, to which the latter texted back, "I agree" and "Plan attack".
Per the DOJ, Rogers told Copeland "after the 20th we go to war," referring to Biden's inauguration date.
Law enforcement officers intervened on January 15 and searched Rogers's home and business where they found and seized 45 to 50 firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition and five pipe bombs, the DOJ stated. They also found manuals, including The Anarchist Cookbook, U.S. Army Improvised Munitions Handbook, and Homemade C-4 A Recipe for Survival.
Documents allege that upon Rogers's arrest, Copeland destroyed all evidence of the plan with the advice of the militia group. His devices were seized by law enforcement on January 17 and they did not find the correspondence between him and Rogers.
Rogers and Copeland's conspiracy charges come with a maximum of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine if convicted.
Additionally, Rogers faces weapons-related charges that have a maximum sentence of 10 years and Copeland faces a maximum 20-year sentence for the destruction of evidence.
"Firebombing your perceived political opponents is illegal and does not nurture the sort of open and vigorous debate that created and supports our constitutional democracy," U.S. Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds said in a press release. "The allegations in the indictment describe despicable conduct. Investigation and prosecution of those who choose violence over discussion is as important as anything else we do to protect our free society."
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Special Agent in Charge Craig Fair stated, "The FBI's highest priority has remained preventing terrorist attacks before they occur, including homegrown plots from domestic violent extremists."
Copeland's next court appearance is July 20 and Rogers will appear in court on July 30.