Two men, one a Minnesotan, are accused of attempting to conspire with the terror group Hamas against the U.S. government.
The U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota has announced charges against the pair, both of whom are self-proclaimed members of the "Boogaloo" movement — a collection of far-right extremist groups seeking to start a second civil war.
Michael Robert Solomon, a 30-year-old New Brighton resident, and 22-year-old Benjamin Ryan Teeter, of Hampstead, North Carolina, were both charged Friday with "conspiring to provide and attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization."
According to a news release, the two first appeared on the government's radar in May, during the civil unrest in the Twin Cities following the death of George Floyd. A witness reporting seeing Solomon "carrying a firearm in a residential neighborhood in Minneapolis."
Both he and Teeter interacted with the witness "over the course of several days," with said witness telling the FBI that the suspects "possessed firearms and substantial quantities of ammunition," and that they — and other Boogaloo members — "discussed committing acts of violence against police officers" as part of a larger plan to overthrow the U.S. government.
Prosecutors say the pair also approached two people they believed to be members of Hamas — the Palestinian terrorist organization — with an offer to be “mercenaries” for the group, with the goal of funding the Boogaloo movement and a training camp.
In what the attorney's office describes as a case of "the enemy of your enemy is your friend,” Solomon and Teeter expressed an affinity with Hamas over its "anti-U.S. government views" and offered to manufacture "unmarked parts for guns" as well as "unregistered and untraceable weapons."
The two also shared their "ideas about destroying government monuments, raiding the headquarters of a white supremacist organization in North Carolina, and targeting politicians and members of the media" with the supposed Hamas agents — who were not Hamas agents at all, but an informant and an FBI employee.
According to the criminal complaint, Teeter explained to the undercover operative that they planned to "completely remove the government, then just start over," with Solomon adding, "our goal is to tear it down."
"No matter what witch’s brew of ideological motivations inspire those who seek to engage in terrorist activity and harm our country and our fellow citizens, the National Security Division (of the U.S. Justice Department) is committed to identifying and holding them accountable," said said Assistant Attorney General John C Demers in a statement.
Solomon was profiled in a Star Tribune piece about the local Boogaloo movement in July. You can read it right here.