In addition to hating federal law enforcement agencies, some so-called "Boogaloo boys" overlap with various libertarian and conspiracy groups in their hatred of public health mandates requiring face masks and keeping businesses closed. One of those, a 55-year-old community college instructor in the South Bay, has been arrested for allegedly making criminal threats against Santa Clara County Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody.
We were hearing earlier this summer about the wave of death threats being received by public health officers across the state due to anger over business shutdowns during the pandemic. As KPIX reports, Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office arrested Alan Viarengo of Gilroy last week for allegedly being one of those assholes who's convinced that all government is bad and we should all be arming ourselves for a second civil war. And in one letter attributed to Viarengo by police, he suggested he had helped publicize Cody's home address to encourage others to harass and/or harm her.
As Cody said back in June, regarding threats against her and colleagues in other counties, "We’ve all taken more heat than we usually take."
Naturally, when sheriff's deputies raided Viarengo's home, they say they found more than 100 firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition, as well as "tools for making ammunition and confederate flags."
As we've reported earlier, the social-media-born Boogaloo movement appears to be a loosely affiliated offshoot of other libertarian, anti-government, and militia-based movements, this one being fond of memes, Hawaiian shirts, and codewords. Another Bay Area Boogaloo proponent, Air Force Sergeant Steven Carrillo, is facing charges in both state and federal court following June shootings he's believed to have committed in Oakland and Santa Cruz, killing law enforcement officers in both.
Viarengo appears to have been excited by Carrillo's alleged killing spree, and in addition to being accused of sending threatening letters to Dr. Cody, he's accused of sending letters to the widow of the Santa Cruz sheriff's deputy who was murdered, and to the sheriff's office, containing Boogaloo imagery and slogans.
As NBC Bay Area reports, the letters to Dr. Cody contained such slogans as well, in addition to an explanation of the writer's intentions, which included encouraging "the violent to carry out their missions by revealing the home addresses of public officials and their families." The writer also said that all health "orders," with scare quotes, are "not enforceable by law," and "the Constitution is not suspended during times of crisis."
A lawyer temporarily representing Viarengo in court, Cody Salfen, posted a lengthy statement — at Viarengo's "specific request" — defending Viarengo and blasting the Santa Clara District Attorney's Office. The letter calls the defendant "a dedicated father, husband, community activist, respected professor, and volunteer. And it says that attorneys in the DA's office "have worked tirelessly to launch a full-blown sucker-punch style attack on [Viarengo's] character, his livelihood, his family, and apparently against the United States Constitution."
Investigators say that they observed Viarengo on July 29, driving a black Tesla Model 3, and putting a letter to Dr. Cody in a mailbox, mocking her handling of the pandemic. One July letter that drew particular law enforcement attention, possibly written by Viarengo, said in response to earlier news stories about death threats against Dr. Cody, "I’m glad you are getting threats. I posted your residence everywhere I could; I hope someone follows through."
Other letters said things like "You're done... it's over... say goodbye," and "Maybe this is the spark we need for a bloody revolution!" The letters also expressed support for Donald Trump using the phrase "Make America Great Again."
Viarengo was well known to local newspapers the Gilroy Dispatch and Morgan Hill Times for writing incendiary letters on a variety of topics, often supporting the First and Second amendments. As the Morgan Hill Times reports, "His latest letter was published July 31 in the Dispatch, in which he criticized Santa Clara County’s handling of the pandemic and the prolonged closure of indoor business and public gatherings."
One of the letters described in the police report also made reference to a specific Las Vegas police detective as a "piece of shit." This detective is reportedly someone whom Viarengo encountered well over two decades ago when he attended the Outlaw Motorcycle Gang rally in Vegas, and sent a series of letters to law enforcement then.
Viarengo is employed as a statistics instructor at Gilroy’s Gavilan College, per the school's website. The school issued a statement to faculty and students, obtained by the Associated Press, that said, "As members of the college community... we are shocked and saddened by what took place, and will cooperate with law enforcement fully if it is required."