Ian Benjamin Rogers
Source: Napa County Sheriff’s Office
A California man charged with possession of five pipe bombs spoke of targeting Democrats and social media giants Twitter and Facebook as part of a discussion of the “war” to ensure that former President Donald Trump would stays in the White House.
“I want to blow up a Democratic building that is that bad,” Napa County’s man Ian Benjamin Rogers wrote in a text message on a criminal complaint in the California Federal District Court. The complaint described a wide range of firearms, ammunition, bomb-making equipment and warfare manuals that were in his possession.
“The Democrats have to pay,” wrote Rogers, a married father of two who owns British Auto Repair from the Napa Valley.
In another text message, Rogers said he was “thinking of the first target of the Sac Office,” which an FBI agent suspects is the Sacramento office of California Governor Gavin Newsom.
“Then maybe bird and face offices,” wrote the 44-year-old according to the complaint.
“Sorry it came to that, but I’m not going down without a fight … These commies need to be told what’s going on.”
The agent said the text appears to refer to Twitter, whose logo is a blue bird, and Facebook “because both social media platforms blocked Trump’s accounts to prevent him from sending messages on those platforms,” briefly After the January 6 uprising, the US Capitol was loved by a crowd of its supporters.
Rogers wrote in another text in which Trump was apparently the 45th president: “I hope 45 goes to war, if he doesn’t I will.”
Rogers admitted during an interview with FBI agents that “he built the pipe bombs but said they were for entertainment purposes only,” the complaint read.
However, the complaint states that these and other text messages indicated that Rogers mistakenly believed Trump won the 2020 presidential election and “his intention to attack Democrats and Democrat-affiliated venues to ensure Trump stays in office”.
“I continue to believe that the messages express Rogers’ intention to commit acts of violence locally in the absence of an organized ‘war’ to prevent Joe Biden from assuming the presidency,” the FBI agent wrote.
The agent noted that Rogers wrote in a January 10 text message, “We can attack Twitter or the Democrats you choose … I think we can either attack easily.”
When the person he texted suggested, “Let’s go after Soros” – well-known liberal investor George Soros – Rogers replied that Twitter or Democrats would be “easy” now while “Soros” had a “road trip” would require. “said the complaint.
Rogers, who is being held on $ 5 million federal gun charges, has yet to appear in federal court in San Francisco to be charged with unlawful possession of an unregistered destructive device.
Rogers’ attorney, Jess Raphael, said that a “disgruntled former employee” who had been fired by Rogers initiated the criminal investigation.
“The tipster had sent a handwritten document to the FBI in September that they were investigating and decided it was unrelated to terrorism and decided not to bring charges,” Raphael said in an email to CNBC.
“Apparently dissatisfied, the tipster sent a copy of his letter to the Napa sheriffs in October, who opened an investigation,” said the lawyer. “Nothing was done about it until January 15th after the Capitol Rebellion. I don’t know why they haven’t done anything for months.”
Raphael called Rodgers a “family man and a valued parishioner”. The lawyer also said, “I have 36 letters confirming his non-violence character.”
“He was a strong believer in President Trump and a gun collector,” said Raphael.
One person who answered the phone in Rogers’ workshop declined to comment, saying, “A lawyer advised us not to speak to reporters.”
The federal criminal complaint stated that the Napa County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, and the Napa Special Investigations Bureau found a large gun safe in his shop containing several guns and the five during the January 15 raids on Rogers’ home and business Contained pipe bombs.
Pipe bombs as shown in an FBI criminal complaint
Other items found in the safe were materials used to create destructive devices, including gunpowder, pipes and end caps.
Authorities also found manuals such as The Anarchist Cookbook, US Army Improvised Munitions Handbook, Homemade C-4: A Recipe for Survival, US Army Special Forces Guide to Unconventional Warfare, and the Guerrilla Warfare Handbook the Army.
A Nazi flag was also found in his safe, according to a prosecutor.
In total, the authorities confiscated 49 firearms from his home and business, including around two dozen ammunition boxes with thousands of rounds of ammunition.
One of the firearms is “an apparently kit-built MG-42 belt-drive machine gun that can fire fully automatically,” says the complaint.
The MG-42 during World War II was made in Germany and used by Nazi forces.
According to the criminal complaint, a sticker on a Rogers vehicle has a symbol for the anti-government group of three percent.
Rogers is not being charged in connection with the attack on the Capitol by the thousands of Trump supporters who made violent but botched efforts to get Congress to reject Joe Biden’s election as president. Five people died in connection with the riot, including a Capitol policeman who was beaten by people in the crowd.
The FBI continues to search for people who left two pipe bombs outside the national headquarters of the Republican and Democratic National Committees on the same day as this riot.
Raphael, Rogers’ attorney, said in his email that “the so-called tube bombs were little tubes filled with gunpowder to fill bullets that were capped, which is all normal hardware store.”
“They were detonated by the sheriffs in tires stacked outside Mr. Rogers’ auto repair shop,” said Raphael. “They didn’t even seem to damage the tires, as I saw in the newspaper photos. His entire weapon collection and the so-called pipe bombs were kept in a large, thick metal weapon safe.”
The attorney also said that even the tipster who briefed law enforcement on Rogers said he “told the sheriff’s investigators that Mr. Rogers was not a militia, hate group or extremist.”
Raphael also said he believed the Napa Sheriffs Department had apparently abused the bail process by filing a motion to significantly increase Rogers’ bond, alleging that he was likely to flee the jurisdiction.
“The entirety of their statement concerned weapons and language, none of which had anything to do with threatened escape,” said the lawyer.
A Twitter spokesman declined to comment.
Facebook did not have an immediate comment.