A vocal Trump supporter in northern California is facing federal charges after authorities discovered he had a stash of homemade bombs and thousands of rounds of ammunition and discussed attacking Democrats and social media companies.
Ian Rogers, 43, was arrested on 15 January, after authorities searched his home and business and discovered a small armoury-worth of weapons including automatic weapons, homemade bombs, at least 49 guns, and 15,000 rounds of ammo.
“We draw a bright line between lawlessness and our constitutional freedoms,” US Attorney David L Anderson said in a statement. “We will prosecute illegal weapons stockpiles regardless of the motivation of the offender.”
Mr Rogers, who owned an auto repair shop in Napa, is being charged with unlawful possession of unregistered destructive devices after he told authorities he built pipe bombs.
Neighbours told ABC 7 that Mr Rogers was normal and friendly but a vocal Trump supporter, and the police search yielded evidence Mr Rogers had considered attacking Democrats and social media companies if Mr Trump didn’t first.
“Let’s see what happens, if nothing does I’m going to war,” Mr Rogers reportedly told an associate.
Potential targets, according to the text messages, were “Democrats, Twitter, etc” and “sac office first”, which FBI agents believe is a reference to the Sacramento, California, office of governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat.
The FBI said Mr Rogers had a sticker on his car with an emblem for the Three-Percenters, a radical anti-government militia group, and possessed a phony “White Privilege” credit card, with the words “TRUMPS EVERYTHING” and the number 45 over and over again. Donald Trump was the 45th president.
Taken together, the FBI wrote, these materials “indicate his belief that Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election, and his intent to attack Democrats and places associated with Democrats in an effort to ensure Trump remained in office”.
His mother insisted he was being made an example of and the charges were overstated, claiming that the explosives were merely fireworks.
"I think it is all about what is happening with the inauguration is all," she told ABC 7 news. "It's a precaution and they are using him as an example.”
The charges, which followed previous ones in state court, came the same day one of the six militia men charged with attempting to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, also a Democrat, pleaded guilty, and the Department of Homeland Security issued an alert that anti-government terrorism could continue into the Biden administration.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies