California Man Accused of Threatening to Bomb State Capitol

The California Capitol building.

(CN) — A Napa man committed to Donald Trump and believed the false claims that the election was stolen from the former president was charged Tuesday with possessing five pipe bombs and allegedly threatening to bomb the state Capitol, Democrats and social media companies, the FBI announced Wednesday.

Ian Benjamin Rogers, 43, from the Napa area, was arrested Jan. 15 and officially charged this week after investigators discovered stockpiles of guns, explosive devices and other materials from his home and business. 

Investigators say they seized 49 firearms with thousands of rounds of ammunition, five fully operational pipe bombs — as well as enough materials to make more — and a small collection of dubious literature, including the “Anarchist Cookbook” and the “Homemade C-4 A Recipe for Survival.”

Investigators also said they found a replica MG-42 amid the stockpile, a weapon used by Nazis in WWII.

Rogers is suspected of being a far-right extremist who reportedly bought into Trump’s baseless claims that the election was stolen from him. According to a statement acquired by the San Francisco Chronicle, Rogers’ attorney Jess Raphael said his client was full of “blustering and bandwagoning” in the days following the attack on the U.S. Capitol and that Rogers agreed with virtually everything that came from the president’s mouth regarding Trump’s false election claims.

In addition to being an alleged Trump loyalist, investigators further discovered a sticker associated with the far-right extremist group “Three Percenters,” who are purported to hold extreme anti-government and pro-gun stances.

Raphael reportedly said that his client was not a member of the far-right group, but did attend one of the group’s barbecues. He said that Rogers was not a part of any militia organization, but did participate in some doomsday preparation activities that focused on preparing for end-of-the-world-like situations.

Perhaps one of the more unique finds investigators found in Rogers’ possession was a fake credit card that labeled itself as a “White Privilege” card. The card also makes a handful of references to Trump, with the card saying that it “Trumps Everything” and repeatedly bears the number 45.

According to reports, Rogers also had a series of text exchanges with another individual that seemed to suggest he had violent intentions in the days following the attack on the United States Capitol. In the alleged text exchange, Rogers said after the Capitol attack that he and another individual could attack “Twitter or the democrats” and, a few days later, told the same individual he wanted to “blow up a democrat building bad … The democrats need to pay.”

Rogers also made another reference to Trump in his text messages, writing that he hoped “45 goes to war” and that if Trump didn’t, Rogers would.

Law enforcement officials did not directly reference Rogers’ alleged loyalty to Trump or his motivation for amassing a weapons stockpile, with investigators saying that they are committed to investigating this kind of activity regardless of what the alleged offender’s intentions.

“We allege that Ian Benjamin Rogers possessed homemade pipe bombs and the materials to make more,” United States Attorney David Anderson said in the press release announcing the charges. “We draw a bright line between lawlessness and our constitutional freedoms. We will prosecute illegal weapons stockpiles regardless of the motivation of the offender.”

Rogers is currently being held in state custody on a $5 million bail as he waits for his preliminary hearing, though a date for his first appearance has yet to be set. If convicted on the charges announced Wednesday, Rogers could be facing up to 10 years prison time for each charge.

Officials from the United States Attorney’s Office as well as Rogers’ attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday evening.

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