A 44-year-old Trump supporter who wrote about attacking high-profile Democrats and the offices of Twitter and Facebook has been charged with stockpiling weapons and homemade explosives.
Officials found dozens of firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition, pipe bombs and manuals like The Anarchist Cookbook and US Army Improvised Munitions Handbook when they raided the home and business of Ian Rogers in California’s Napa wine country earlier this month.
The 44-year-old has been charged with the unlawful possession of unregistered destructive devices.
Among the items seized by investigators was a mock credit card emblazoned with the slogan White Privilege, Trumps Everything. It bore the number 0045 – in honour, according to the FBI, of Donald Trump, the 45th president.
Rogers also had a car bumper sticker celebrating the anti-government militia the Three Percenters. The group’s name refers to the belief that only 3% of American colonists fought against the British during the American Revolution.
The charges were revealed as the US Department of Homeland Security issued a warning that anger “fuelled by false narratives” could lead to some within the country to launch attacks in the coming weeks. The warning system is usually reserved for alerts to threats of terror attacks.
In court documents, the FBI alleges text messages found on Rogers’ phone revealed that he believed Trump had won the 2020 election. He expressed anger towards the social media companies who had suspended the president’s accounts.
He wrote: “We can attack Twitter and the Democrats easy right now.”
And in another message, he said: “I want to blow up a democrat building bad. The democrats need to pay.”
In other texts he referred to the “sac office” believed to be that of California Governor Gavin Newsom, and the “bird and face offices” referring to the headquarters of Twitter and Facebook.
He also wrote: “Let’s see what happens, if nothing, I’m going to war” – adding: “I hope 45 goes to war, if he doesn’t I will.”
Rogers, who runs a car repair business called British Auto Repair, told investigators he made the pipe bombs for “entertainment purposes only”.
Bomb technicians who examined the five improvised explosive devices Rogers had constructed concluded they were fully operational and could cause great bodily harm.
Rogers’ lawyer Jess Raphael said investigators had acted on a tip-off from a former employee and had originally decided not to pursue a case. That changed after the 6 January assault on the US Capitol in Washington.
“Mr Rogers is not a member of any militia or any hate group,” Mr Raphael said. “He doesn’t espouse extremist views. He just kind of got swept up with all of the emotion and hysteria about President Trump and the incidents that happened on 6 January.”
Raphael said Rogers had no connection to the riots and would plead not guilty.