California Men Charged in Planned Bombing of Democratic Headquarters

Two California men were charged in federal court with conspiring to attack the Democratic headquarters in Sacramento, according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) indictment unsealed Thursday.

Ian Benjamin Rogers, 45, of Napa and Jarrod Copeland, 37, of Vallejo allegedly began plotting an attack after the 2020 presidential election in hopes of starting a movement to overthrow the government, the U.S. attorney's office for the Northern District of California said.

White privilege mock credit card
Two California men were charged by federal authorities with planning to set off explosives at Democratic Party targets in Sacramento. Above, a "white privilege" mock card that was found in the possession of one of them. U.S. Department of Justice

The men were allegedly planning to use explosive devices in attacks on targets related to the Democratic Party. The DOJ also said they reportedly tried to receive support from a known anti-government militia group.

Copeland was arrested on Wednesday and made an initial federal court appearance on Thursday morning, the U.S. attorney's office said.

Rogers has been in custody since law enforcement officials discovered a large cache of weapons during a search on January 15. The search was conducted at Rogers' auto repair shop, where authorities found 45 to 50 firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition and five pipe bombs.

Also reportedly discovered during the January search were two manuals on conducting warfare and a mock "white privilege card" that referenced former President Donald Trump. A sticker was also found on Rogers' vehicle associated with the Three Percenters, a far-right militant group.

Both men were charged with conspiracy to destroy by fire or explosive a building used or affecting interstate commerce. Each suspect also received additional charges. Rogers faces multiple weapons violations, including one count of possession of unregistered destructive devices and three counts of possession of machine guns.

Copeland was hit with a count of destruction of records for allegedly destroying evidence related to the men's attack plans. The DOJ said that after Roger's arrest, Copeland communicated with a militia group, which advised him to delete past conversations with Rogers, which he allegedly did.

However, the DOJ managed to recover communications that discussed the attacks from multiple messaging apps used by Rogers and Copeland. Rogers allegedly wrote to Copeland in an encrypted message last November that he would use Molotov cocktails and gasoline to attack such targets as the Governor's Mansion and the Democratic headquarters building in Sacramento.

Another message from Rogers to Copeland in January allegedly read, "I want to blow up a democrat building bad."

Rusty Hicks, the California Democratic Party chair, released a statement about the arrest on Thursday. He said: "Recent news reports of a plot to target the California Democratic Party Headquarters in Sacramento are extremely disturbing. We are relieved to know the plot was unsuccessful, the individuals believed to be responsible are in custody, and our staff and volunteers are safe and sound."

Hicks continued, "Yet, it points to a broader issue of violent extremism that is far too common in today's political discourse. And, while we will continue to take every necessary precaution to keep everyone safe, we will not be distracted. We will not be deterred. We will not be dissuaded from the important work of protecting and preserving a democracy that works for every person who calls California home."

FBI Special Agent in Charge Craig Fair said in a statement, "The FBI's highest priority has remained preventing terrorist attacks before they occur, including homegrown plots from domestic violent extremists."

"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," Fair's statement added.

Copeland will appear next on July 20 for a detention hearing, while Rogers is scheduled to have a status conference on July 30.

If convicted, each man faces a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years' imprisonment, a three-year term of supervised release and a $250,000 fine for the conspiracy charge. Rogers faces an additional maximum of 10 years in prison for the weapons charge, and Copeland could be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison for the destruction of evidence charge.

Rogers is also being prosecuted in Napa County on state charges for being in possession of pipe bombs, machine guns and assault rifles.

Newsweek reached out to the U.S. attorney's office for further comment but did not hear back before publication.