According to a federal indictment unsealed Thursday, two Northern California militia members, one of whom hoarded guns and explosives, have been accused in a plan to blow up the state Democratic offices in Sacramento.
Federal prosecutors say that Ian Benjamin Rogers, 45, of Napa, and Jarrod Copeland, 37, of Vallejo, planned the assault in the hopes of starting a movement of wider violence after being dissatisfied with the result of the November presidential election.
According to an earlier court filing, the two individuals started planning assaults against Democratic targets such as the governor’s house and the Bay Area offices of Twitter and Facebook only days after the election.
According to the indictment, they had chosen their first target by the end of November: the John L. Burton Democratic Headquarters in a tree-lined residential neighborhood of Sacramento, only steps from the Capitol.
In a press statement, Democratic Party Chairman Rusty Hicks called the plan disturbing, adding that it shows a larger problem of violent extremism that is much too prevalent in today’s political debate.
According to a press statement by the FBI, which handled the investigation, Rogers reportedly informed Copeland through an encrypted messaging app in November that he would hit the enemy in the mouth.
On January 11, Rogers reportedly told Copeland that he really wanted to blow up a democrat building.
According to the indictment, Copeland responded by saying he agreed and asked to start planning the attack.
On January 20, President Biden was sworn in.
According to Henry Wofford, a public information officer for the Napa County Sheriff’s Office, a person close to Rogers in Napa reported him to police as someone possibly harmful to the community.
Rogers’ house and car repair company, British Auto Repair of the Napa Valley, were searched by federal officials working with the Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 15, and he was charged days later with having five homemade pipe bombs after firearms were discovered at both sites.
They also seized bomb-making materials, as well as weapons and tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition.
Wofford claimed at the time that police recovered 49 weapons and 15,000 rounds of ammunition, including a very high-power machine gun.
According to the indictment, Rogers had several machine guns.
In a previous statement, Napa County Dist. Atty. Allison Haley said that the pipe bombs were constructed of galvanized steel, had end caps and fuses, and could kill individuals within a 5-foot range while injuring others within a 25-foot range.
Authorities reportedly discovered a bumper sticker on Rogers’ car that was connected with the Three Percenters, a paramilitary militia organization whose members have allegedly been linked to previous acts of violence in recent months.
Rogers, whose arrest occurred less than two weeks after a fatal riot at the United States Capitol led by far-right radicals and Trump supporters on Jan. 6, faces state weapons charges as well.
Prosecutors claim that after learning of the arrest, Copeland sought guidance from a paramilitary organization to which both men belonged.
A leader of that organization reportedly encouraged Copeland to delete his interactions with Rogers and migrate to a new platform, to which Copeland complied.
According to court documents, officials raided Copeland’s home on Jan. 17 and seized his computer devices.
Rogers has been detained in Napa since his arrest in January. Copeland was detained on Wednesday and is still being held.
Both men face up to 20 years in prison if convicted on conspiracy charges to destroy a structure utilized in or affecting interstate commerce by fire or explosion.
Rogers is also facing firearms charges, while Copeland is accused of deleting documents. Both men are expected to appear in court later this month.