Two Trump fanatics who abused steroids and had access to a disturbing home arsenal plotted to blow up a Democratic building in the wake of Biden’s win—and even reached out to the Proud Boys for help, according to new indictments unsealed Thursday.
According to court documents filed by DOJ attorneys in the Northern District of California, Ian Benjamin Rogers, 45, of Napa, and Jarrod Copeland, 37, of Vallejo started plotting to attack Democratic targets as early as November, after former President Donald Trump lost the 2020 presidential election. They also contacted anti-government groups with the hopes of rallying them to commit similar acts of violence and overthrow the government, the indictment alleges.
Through a messaging app, the pair had discussed using “Molotov cocktails and gasoline,” to take out the California governor’s mansion as early as Nov. 25, according to court documents.
Then days before the Capitol insurrection, Rogers allegedly insisted the pair needed backup support from other groups in their plot. Text messages recovered from Rogers’ phone showed an effort to keep Trump in power at all costs, and showed that he intended to attack Democrats and places associated with Democrats in an effort to keep Trump in office, DOJ officials said.
“We need help though and I don’t know how to get more people involve [sic],” Rogers allegedly wrote in a message on Jan. 4.
Copeland responded: “Proud boys and 3%” then allegedly wrote that he had “emailed proud boys.”
Days after the Capitol assault, Copeland—who once deserted the U.S. Army —lauded “REVOLUTION” in messages to Rogers and fantasized about drinking Red Bulls, and grabbing his tactical gear and weapons, according to court documents. “I’m fucking juiced!!!!!” he wrote. “I’m bout to throw my gear on and drive around and punish sombitces.”
In the days that followed, the pair, who spent $1,200 on a stash of steroids, pointedly discussed targeting the Sacramento office as part of an initial attack. “I want to blow up a democrat building bad,” Rogers allegedly wrote. Copeland responded: “I agree” and “Plan attack,” the indictment says.
Both men allegedly planned to use incendiary or explosive devices in their attacks and believed the attacks would start a movement. They allegedly intended to initiate their plans following the January inauguration.
“Let’s see what happens after the 20th we go to war,” Rogers allegedly told Copeland in a message dated Jan. 11.
Rogers has been in custody since January when law enforcement officials searched his home and business and discovered a stash of weapons including 49 firearms, two dozen boxes of ammunition containing thousands of rounds, and five pipe bombs, according to a criminal complaint at the time.
During their search, officers also seized two copies of books titled U.S. Army Special Forces Guide to Unconventional Warfare, and U.S. Army Guerrilla Warfare Handbook. They also identified a “Three Percenters” sticker on Rogers’ car, the complaint said.
After learning of Rogers’ arrest, according to prosecutors, Copeland allegedly contacted an unnamed militia group to which both men belonged that was affiliated with the Three Percenters, an anti-government militia group that advocates armed rebellion against the federal government. According to the indictment, members of the militia advised Copeland to use a different messaging app and delete communications with Rogers. Copeland was taken into custody on Wednesday.
Both men were charged with conspiracy to destroy by fire or explosive a building used or in affecting interstate commerce. Rogers is also charged with possession of unregistered destructive devices and possession of machine guns. Copeland faces an additional count of destruction of records, the DOJ said.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Craig Fair lauded the prevention of the attack in a statement Thursday.
“The FBI’s highest priority has remained preventing terrorist attacks before they occur, including homegrown plots from domestic violent extremists,” Fair said. “As described in the indictment, Ian Rogers and Jarrod Copeland planned an attack using incendiary devices. The FBI and the Napa County Sheriff’s Office have worked hand-in-hand to uncover this conspiracy and to prevent any loss of life.”