Two California men have been charged with plotting to attack the Democratic Party headquarters in Sacramento with explosives after last year’s presidential election.
In Sacramento, John L. The men were charged Thursday in San Francisco federal court with conspiracy to destroy a building affecting interstate commerce and other related crimes as part of a plan to attack the Burton Democratic headquarters.
According to court documents, Ian Rogers, 45, of Napa and Jarrod Copeland, 37, of Vallejo, plotted a series of “specific, elaborate and serious” plans to attack Democrats with incendiary devices after the 2020 presidential election. Started composing. The men also attempted to garner support from militia groups in the hope that their attack would spark a movement to overthrow the government.
The allegations come as officials were alerted to possible political violence following the January 6 invasion of Capitol Hill by supporters of then-President Donald Trump, who sought to block authentication of Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election. was.
“Do you think there’s something wrong with me, how excited am I to attack the Democrats?” Rogers asked Copeland on a messaging app last December.
Copeland, who was arrested Wednesday, later told police that he did not take Rogers’ statement seriously and was only listening to him “blow off steam.”
But court records indicate that Copeland encouraged discussions about Rogers’ violence with messages saying he would take action to keep Trump in office.
“If we see [Trump] Can’t win we strike,” Copeland said in a message. “If they don’t listen to Trump they will listen to us.”
Officials said Copeland also contacted the Proud Boys and Three Percentors, two extreme anti-government militia groups, and attempted to recruit individuals to join their plot in late December.
Court records state that Copeland joined the military in 2013, but was twice arrested for exile and was discharged in 2016 in lieu of a court martial. He then joined the Three Percentors and later became an officer within the militia group, court records say.
According to the allegations, after the election results were certified on January 6, the two men continued to discuss violent attacks on Democrats. Prosecutors alleged that the rebellion at the Capitol had inspired them, citing Copeland’s upbeat messages that day that fantasized about the violence.
“Revolution,” “revolution,” “revolution,” Copeland said of the rebellion. “I’m f—— juicy!!!!!”
Another of his messages said, “Damn I wanna roll in a ready-made pouch,” said another of his messages, referring to Sacramento and its military-style tactical gear and weapons.
The Democratic headquarters in Sacramento was chosen as their first target to be attacked with explosive devices, and the two men discussed attacking the Twitter and Facebook headquarters, prosecutors alleged.
“The head must be taken,” said Copeland. “I don’t like to think that but I think we have to die for what we believe in.”
Rogers was arrested on January 15 for possessing five pipe bombs and remains in state custody in Napa County on multiple weapons charges. According to a criminal complaint, officers seized about 50 firearms and about 15,000 rounds of ammunition from his home and business, in addition to pipe bombs.
Materials used to make destructive equipment were also found in his business, including black powder, pipes and end caps and several manuals, such as “The Anarchist Cookbook,” “US Army Improvised Munition Handbook” and “Homemade C-4: A Recipe”. for survival,” the complaint said.
Authorities also reported the discovery of a sticker on the window of Rogers’s vehicle, commonly used by three percentiles.
The day after Rogers’ arrest, Copeland erases all previous communications with Rogers for fear of being traced.
Court records also allege that Copeland abused anabolic steroids, noting her $1,200 purchase of steroids in December and the seizure of steroids from her home in January.
“That danger to anyone who opposes political views is clear,” the court record said.
According to the Justice Department, if convicted, the two men could face up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy.
Rogers also faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for his extra-arms charge, and Copeland faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for the evidence charge.
Rogers’ attorney declined CNBC’s request for comment, and Copeland’s attorney could not be contacted for comment.
US Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds said, “Bombing your alleged political opponents is illegal and does not nurture the open and vigorous debate that builds and supports our constitutional democracy.” “The allegations in the indictment describe abhorrent conduct. Investigating and prosecuting those who choose violence over discussion is as important as what we do to protect our free society.”
California Democratic Party chairman Rusty Hicks called their alleged plot “extremely disturbing.”
“We are relieved to learn that the plot was unsuccessful, the individuals believed to be responsible are in custody, and our staff and volunteers are safe,” Hicks said in a statement Thursday. “Nevertheless, it points to a broader issue of violent extremism that is very common in today’s political discourse.”
— CNBC’s Dan Mangan and Amanda Macias contributed to this report.