A Northern California man held on a $5 million bond after FBI investigators found five “fully operational” pipe bombs and an illegal weapons stockpile at his home and business two weeks ago had planned to blow up offices belonging to Gov. Gavin Newsom, as well as Facebook and Twitter, prosecutors say.
Ian Benjamin Rogers, 44, from Napa, Calif., also had a sticker on his vehicle commonly used by so-called “Three Percenters,” and officers executing search warrants also found a “White Privilege Card” and several weapons-related manuals including some from the U.S. Army, as well as “The Anarchist Cookbook,” FBI investigators said.
Rogers was charged Tuesday in a federal criminal complaint with possessing five pipe bombs that were unregistered destructive devices, U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson and FBI Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair announced in a statement Wednesday.
If convicted, the charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, according to prosecutors.
He was arrested on Jan. 15, the same day the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Napa County Sheriff’s Office and the Napa Special Investigations Bureau executed a search warrant at his home and business in Napa County. A total of 49 firearms were seized from both locations, as well as approximately two dozen ammunition boxes containing thousands of rounds of ammunition, authorities said.
Several of the firearms, including what appears to be a kit-built replica MG-42 belt-fed machine gun, appear to be capable of firing fully automatic, FBI agent Stephanie Minor, assigned to the domestic terrorism squad at the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office, wrote in an affidavit submitted in support of the criminal complaint filed against Rogers.
Five pipe bombs were found inside a safe at Roger’s business, as well as other materials that could be used to manufacture destructive devices, including black powder, pipes, endcaps and manuals, including “The Anarchist Cookbook,” the “U.S. Army Improvised Munitions Handbook,” and “Homemade C-4 A Recipe for Survival,” according to the affidavit. Two copies of the “U.S. Army Special Forces Guide to Unconventional Warfare,” and a “U.S. Army Guerrilla Warfare Handbook” were also discovered.
The sticker found on Roger’s vehicle is believed to be commonly used by the so-called “Three Percenters,” who are “people who ascribe to extreme anti-government, pro-gun beliefs,” Minor wrote, citing her training, experience and discussions with other agents experienced in domestic terrorism investigations. Their use of “three percent” is a reference to the belief that only 3% of the American colonists fought against the British during the American Revolution, the affidavit said.
Officers also found a “White Privilege Card,” that included the statement “Trumps Everything” and the numbers “0045” repeated four times “to make it look like a credit card number,” which Minor said are references to former President Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States.
In an interview after his arrest, Rogers allegedly admitted that he had built the pipe bombs, but said that “they were for entertainment purposes only” — though additional evidence suggested otherwise, according to the affidavit.
Minor said text messages recovered from Rogers’ phone allegedly demonstrated his belief that 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.”
“We can attack Twitter or the democrats you pick,” Rogers allegedly wrote in a Jan. 10 text message to another person, adding, “I think we can attack either easily.” The recipient suggested they go after George Soros, to which Rogers responded, “We can attack Twitter and democrats easy right now burn they’re sh** down.”
“I want to blow up a democrat building bad,” Rogers purportedly wrote in another text message to the same person the next day. He continued, “Let’s see what happens, if nothing does I’m going to war.”
“Democrats, Twitter, etc,” Rogers allegedly wrote, adding, “I hope 45 goes to war if he doesn’t I will.”
His next text messages apparently suggested attacks against California’s Democratic governor’s office, as well as the offices of Facebook and Twitter, which are all located in northern California, according to authorities.
“Let’s see what happens then we act,” Rogers allegedly wrote, adding: “I’m thinking sac office first target” and “Then maybe bird and face offices.”
The affidavit concludes, “that when Rogers said, ‘sac office first target,’ he meant that their first target should be the offices of California Governor Gavin Newsom in Sacramento.”
“I further believe that when Rogers said that the ‘bird and face’ offices would be next, he meant the offices of Twitter (‘bird’) and Facebook (‘face’), because both social media platforms had locked Trump’s accounts to prevent him from sending messages on those platforms,” Minor wrote.
An examination and tests conducted by a Napa County Sheriff’s Office bomb technician on the five pipe bombs seized from Rogers’ business concluded Rogers had “constructed 5 improvised explosive devices that were fully operational and could cause great bodily harm or injury if handled improperly.”
Rogers has appeared in Napa County state criminal court on state illegal firearm charges and is being held in state custody in lieu of a $5 million bail as he awaits a preliminary hearing.
Federal prosecutors intend to seek Rogers’s appearance in federal court on the charges in the complaint “upon the issuance of a federal order to transfer Rogers to the United States District Court in San Francisco,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California said in its press release Wednesday. The date of such appearance has not yet been set.