WASHINGTON — Two men have been indicted by a federal grand jury on multiple charges in connection with an alleged plot to attack the Democratic Party headquarters building in Sacramento after last year's presidential election.
Ian Benjamin Rogers, 45, of Napa, and Jarrod Copeland, 37, of Vallejo, face charges that include conspiracy to destroy a building used in interstate commerce with fire or explosives, possession of machine guns and obstruction of justice.
Federal authorities allege the men were "specific, detailed and serious" in a plan to carry out an attack on the John L. Burton Democratic Headquarters. The Department of Justice said the two began planning to attack Democratic targets with incendiary devices after the election and sought support from a militia group in hopes their actions would start a movement.
"Do you think something is wrong with me how I'm excited to attack the Democrats?" Rogers asked Copeland, who later told police he didn't take any of the talk seriously and that he was listening to Rogers "blow off steam," according to the government's detention memo.
But the government alleged Copeland, who was arrested Wednesday, encouraged Rogers and continued to refer to violent attacks in January.
Rogers was charged that month with possessing five pipe bombs. According to the criminal complaint, investigators also found materials at his business that could be used to make explosive devices, including black powder, pipes, end caps and manuals, such as "The Anarchist Cookbook," the "U.S. Army Improvised Munitions Handbook" and "Homemade C-4: A Recipe for Survival."
Nearly 50 guns were reportedly seized from Rogers’ home and business along with thousands of rounds of ammunition. Officers and agents also reported discovering a sticker on Rogers' vehicle window that is commonly used by "Three-Percenters,” people who ascribe to extreme anti-government, pro-gun beliefs, the complaint said.
The Justice Department said that if convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a three-year term of supervised release and a $250,000 fine for the conspiracy charge. Rogers also faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for the weapons charge and Copeland faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for a destruction of evidence charge.
It wasn’t known Thursday evening if the men have attorneys who could speak on their behalf.
Rusty Hicks, chair of the California Democratic Party, called the accusations “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 said in a statement. “Yet, it points to a broader issue of violent extremism that is far too common in today’s political discourse.”