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Ohio ‘Boogaloo Boi’ arrested and accused of threatening to 'blow up the IRS' and kill federal agents, FBI says

The FBI says Aron McKillips, 29, had an extensive digital footprint of messages expressing a desire to kill federal agents and burn government buildings.
A Boogaloo Bois rally in Columbus, Ohio on Jan. 17, 2021.
A Boogaloo Bois rally in Columbus, Ohio, in January 2021.Zach D. Roberts / NurPhoto via Getty Images file

An Ohio man who's an extremist "Boogaloo Boi" has been arrested and accused of threatening to kill federal agents and boasting online about his weapons stash, including a grenade launcher, the FBI said.

Aron McKillips, 29, of Sandusky, was arrested without incident Tuesday by members of the Cleveland Division of the FBI, a spokesperson for the FBI Cleveland office said.

McKillips was a “well-known” member of the "Boogaloo Boys" or "Boogaloo Bois," an anti-government extremist group that advocates for a violent uprising targeting liberal political opponents and law enforcement official, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint says that since at least early 2021, McKillips had been posting messages insinuating or explicitly threatening to harm the government or federal agents.

In a message sent in a private chat on Sept. 1, 2021, he is alleged to have written, “Ain't got a federal badge off a corpse yet, so my time here ain't near done yet lol,” according to the complaint.

Authorities said that when he wasn't doing that, he was often talking about guns: trading weapons and firearm accessories, boasting about turning semi-automatic firearms into fully automatic machine guns and claiming he was in Michigan "literally handing out machine guns" to other Boogaloo members.

McKillips was arrested on criminal charges of unlawful possession of a machine gun and interstate communication of threats, the FBI said.

He made his initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Darrell A. Clay on Tuesday and waived his preliminary hearing. A detention hearing has been set for next Wednesday, and he was ordered to be temporarily detained, the FBI Cleveland office said.

Neil S. McElroy, an attorney for McKillips, said when asked for comment: "Other than the information contained in the complaint, the government has provided no discovery such that I could provide an informed statement regarding the charges at this point."

A grenade launcher, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and body armor

The complaint says McKillips was found with a cache of weapons and ammunition on Dec. 31, 2020, when police stopped him for a traffic violation in Sandusky.

Police found "two marijuana roaches in the center console," as well as "several hundred rounds" of 5.56 mm and 9 mm ammunition, body armor, an AR-15 rifle upper receiver, parachute flares, medical kits, firearm components and military-style equipment, the complaint said. He was issued a citation and released, according to the complaint. 

The complaint alleged that he shared photos online and spoke in person about his different weapons.

A profile on the Signal messaging service with the name of "Prison (NW-OH) NSOL" listed a phone number that matched a number in records for McKillips at his home address. The profile posted a photo of an AR-15-style rifle fitted with a grenade launcher on Jan. 14, 2021, the complaint said.

On another occasion he boasted in person about his high-powered weapons, according to the complaint.

In May 2021, McKillips participated in a protest at the Richland County Jail in Mansfield, Ohio, over an inmate who had been killed by a corrections officer, the complaint said.

Afterward, protesters gathered at a house for a party, where McKillips “stated he had an AK-47 that he traded for a .308 that he then traded for a grenade launcher and some 'primo cocaine,'" the complaint said.

“McKillips said his grenade launcher was firing pin activated and he had the knowledge to make high explosive rounds that he could shoot out of the launcher,” the complaint said.

McKillips also visited Lansing, Michigan, in April 2021 and provided “drop-in auto sears," a part constructed from metal that is placed in AR-15s to convert them from semi-automatic rifles into fully automatic rifles, the complaint said.

The complaint said that such parts are considered illegal and alleged that McKillips instructed people about how they worked, performed function checks to ensure it worked properly and showed others how to make the parts.

Online messages about wanting to 'blow up the IRS'

Confidential informants flagged McKillips' messages on encrypted chat forums and apps like Discord, Keybase and Signal to authorities.

In a message sent in a Keybase chat group on Feb. 15, 2021, using the username “prisonoh,” which stands for “Prison Ohio,” McKillips “indicated that the government took some money from him and he still owed the government money,” authorities said.

He then indicated that “I’ve got some planning to do brother” and that “it’s time I do something for the movement,” the complaint said.  

On July 6, 2021, a confidential source reported that McKillips had posted recordings in a Signal chat room talking about burning down federal buildings and shooting federal agents. 

According to copies of the recordings, he said, “I just wanna blow up the IRS.”

“I’m only here for the violence so-we gonna f------ start killing people like federal agents," he said in part, authorities said.

In another message, he is alleged to have said: “Yes, f--- mass corporations but still I’d rather put that energy towards f------ the White House.” 

He called for riots and burning down businesses like Target and Walmart but said “leave Sears alone cause they got really good [unintelligible] selection of tools and stuff cause I’m poor,” according to the complaint.

On July 21, 2021, another confidential source reported that McKillips posted a recorded voice message in a large Signal group in which he discussed going to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives office in Columbus to carry out an attack.

“We can go to the ATF office here in Columbus, and I’m totally down and everybody is like about it, so I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he is alleged to have said. 

In May, authorities said, he appeared to complain in a Signal group chat about his desire to commit a raid: "I've been saying this awhile but no-one (sic) wants to raid government building with me."

When a user responded, “That’s too much drama,” he replied, “Not yet, not till I mail a feds head back to his wife,” authorities said.

He also made several references to “smoke a hog,” meaning to kill a law enforcement officer, according to the complaint.