A Napa businessman whose January 15 arrest we learned of last week, turns out to have been allegedly plotting to attack the state Capitol, as well as Twitter and Facebook, all in the name of Donald Trump.
Much like this unhinged idiot in the East Bay who was arrested by the feds this week, Napa resident Ian Benjamin Rogers, 44, was taken into custody by federal agents earlier this month following a tip that he was in possession of several illegal weapons. As KTVU reported, Napa County sheriff's deputies served a warrant at Rogers's business, British Auto Repair of Napa, on January 15, and found a cache of over 50 firearms, including illegal assault rifles and automatic weapons, as well as five homemade pipe bombs, 15,000 rounds of ammunition, and several pounds of gun powder.
A federal bomb squad went about detonating the five devices outside the business, using a makeshift bunker made out of rubber tires. The Napa Valley Register, whose offices are very close to British Auto Repair, reports that employees were instructed to stay on the newspaper's property while the bomb squad and its robot were at work.
Now we learn via an affidavit in support of a federal criminal complaint that Rogers was allegedly among the American "patriots" who spent the early part of the new year fomenting rage and insurrection over Biden's pending inauguration. And text messages that he allegedly sent, according to federal agents, contained phrases like, "We can attack Twitter or the democrats you pick... I think we can attack either easily," and "I want to blow up a democrat building bad," and "I hope 45 goes to war if he doesn’t I will."
Among his possessions, according to federal agents, was a piece of Trump-era swag for the white supremacist set: a White Privilege Card that looks kind of like an old Diners Club card or something, with the number all made out of "45" and the tagline "Trumps Everything."
"We allege that Ian Benjamin Rogers possessed homemade pipe bombs and the materials to make more," U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson said in a news release. "We draw a bright line between lawlessness and our constitutional freedoms. We will prosecute illegal weapons stockpiles regardless of the motivation of the offender."
Like 35-year-old Bay Point resident Robert Lemke, who was arrested Tuesday for allegedly making criminal threats to a journalist and the family of a New York congressman, Rogers appears to have been obsessed with both the falsehood pushed by Trump that Democrats stole the 2020 election, and the notion of an armed uprising. But unlike Lemke, Rogers appears to have been preparing for actual violence and, as he allegedly said in texts, "war."
Other texts mentioned in the affidavit include a discussion of plans to blow up Gavin Newsom's office at the state Capitol, and the headquarters of Twitter and Facebook.
"Let’s see what happens then we act," Rogers allegedly said via text. "I’m thinking sac office first target... Then maybe bird and face offices." FBI Special Agent Stephanie Minor said that they believe "sac office" referred to Governor Gavin Newsom's office in Sacramento, and "bird and face" refer to Twitter and Facebook.
"These commies need to be told what’s up," Rogers allegedly said.
In addition to the cache of explosives and weapons, agents say they found bomb-making guides and materials, including black powder, pipes, end caps, and books like The Anarchist Cookbook, and the U.S. Army Improvised Munitions Handbook, as well as a recipe for homemade C4 explosive.
The case has been assigned to the the Domestic Terrorism Squad of the FBI's San Francisco Field Office.
As he awaits his preliminary hearing, Rogers is being held in state custody in lieu of a $5 million bail. The weapons offenses alone, according to the complaint, carry a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.