Two charged in terror plot to avenge Trump's election loss: “I want to blow up a democrat building"

45 to 50 firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and five pipe bombs were found in a California home

By Jon Skolnik
Published July 16, 2021 5:22PM (EDT)
Donald Trump | Pickup trucks and cars full of flag-waving Donald Trump supporters as they snarl traffic and parade through downtown Portland, Oregon on August 29, 2020. (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Donald Trump | Pickup trucks and cars full of flag-waving Donald Trump supporters as they snarl traffic and parade through downtown Portland, Oregon on August 29, 2020. (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

Two California men disgruntled by Donald Trump's election loss have been charged by the Justice Department for attempting to blow up the California Democratic Party's headquarters in Sacramento. 

The development, revealed in a newly unsealed indictment on Thursday, centers on Trump supporters Ian Benjamin Rogers and Jarrod Copeland, both of whom believed their attack would spark a "movement" to enlist an army of followers to their cause. Having settled on a plan of attack last December, Rogers asked his partner: "Do you think something is wrong with me how I'm excited to attack the [D]emocrats?"

The plan developed over the ensuing weeks, prosecutors alleged. 

On January 4, just two days before the Capitol riot, Copeland told Rogers that he was excited to "become outlaws for real" if the 2020 election was certified in President Biden's favor. 

Following the riot, Rogers sent Copeland a flurry of texts. "REVOLUTION," he wrote. "I'm f---ing juiced!!!!!" he said, adding: "I'm bout to throw my gear on and drive around and punish [sic] sombitces."

"Sad it's come to this but I'm not going down without a fight," Rogers later added. "These commies need to be told what's up."

Days following their exchange on January 11, Napa County Sheriff's deputies arrested Rogers. Authorities seized between 45 and 50 firearms, including a number of assault rifles, machine guns, and three pipe bombs. Law enforcement also found approximately 15,000 rounds of ammunition.

At Rogers' personal place of business, law enforcement found copies of "The Anarchist Cookbook" and a "Homemade C-4 A Recipe for Survival," as well as "U.S. Army Improvised Munitions Handbook."

This week, the FBI also arrested Copeland, who attempted to scrub his text exchanges following his friend's arrest. Prosecutors noted that Copeland had joined the military back in 2013, but was twice arrested for desertion. Following his "other than honorable" discharge from service, Copeland joined the Three Percenters, a far-right, anti-government militia – several of whose members were indicted by grand jury last June for participating the Capitol riot. 

"Copeland's membership in an anti-government militia, and his motivations for planning these attacks are relevant because they are not fleeting or the product of a single, but past, perceived affront," prosecutors said in court documents. "His sentiments are deeply felt and long-standing and reflect a [sic] believe that the government is illegitimate."

Last October, one of the suspects involved in a failed plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was determined to be the second-in-command of Three Percenters' Wisconsin branch. A Three Percenter was also arrested three years earlier over a failed plot to detonate a car bomb attack on a bank in Oklahoma City. The plan was inspired by the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.


Jon Skolnik

Jon Skolnik is a staff writer at Salon. His work has appeared in Current Affairs, The Baffler, AlterNet, and The New York Daily News.

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