Two self-proclaimed members of the Boogaloo Bois, a far-right extremist group, have been charged with additional crimes in relation to the unrest that followed George Floyd's death in Minneapolis.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Minnesota on Friday announced in a news release a four-count superseding indictment (an indictment that takes the place of a previous indictment) against Michael Robert Solomon, 30, of New Brighton, Minnesota, and Benjamin Ryan Teeter, 22, of Hampstead, North Carolina.
The pair had been charged with conspiring to provide and attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization (Hamas) on Sept. 3.
Now they're also each charged with the following:
- Conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization (Hamas)
- Attempt provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization (Hamas)
- Possession of unregistered firearms – silencers
- Unlawful possession of a machine gun
They will be arraigned "at a later date," the release says, noting they've been ordered to remain in detention "pending further proceedings."
The news release, citing the new indictment and court documents, says in May the FBI began investigating Solomon and Teeter, who are members of the Boogaloo Bois and the sub-group Boojahideen, after witnesses saw Solomon openly carrying a gun in a residential neighborhood in Minneapolis during the civil unrest following George Floyd's death.
Solomon and Teeter allegedly interacted with witnesses over the course of several days, with a witness saying they had guns and "substantial quantities of ammunition" and they and other members of the Boogaloo Bois and Boojahideen discussed committing acts of violence against police officers and other targets "in furtherance of the Boojahideen's goal of overthrowing the government and replacing its police forces," the release states.
In early June, the FBI learned "through a confidential human source" that Solomon and Teeter thought was a member of Hamas that they believe Hamas shares anti-U.S. government views that align with their own. They also expressed their desire to employ themselves as "mercenaries" for Hamas as a means to generate cash for the Boogaloo Bois/Boojahideen movement, including funding for recruitment and purchasing land for a training compound.
They 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 confidential human source and another person they thought was a senior member of Hamas (they were actually an undercover FBI employee), the release says. They also talked about their ability to manufacture unmarked gun parts and create unregistered and untraceable weapons and suppressors.
On July 30, Solomon and Teeter delivered to the undercover FBI employee five suppressors and expressed their desire to manufacture additional suppressors and fully automatic weapons for Hamas, the release says. They later negotiated with the undercover FBI employee a price of $1,800 for five additional suppressors and delivered a "drop-in auto sear" that converts a weapon to shoot automatically, which they believed would be used by Hamas overseas to attack Israeli and U.S. soldiers.
On Aug. 29, they knowingly possessed a device that converts a semi-automatic rifle into an illegal machine gun, the release says.
Another member indicted
Ivan Hunter, 26, of Boerne, Texas, who is also a self-described member of the Boogaloo Bois was indicted on Nov. 4 on one count of riot. He was charged in October with riot, accused of firing 13 rounds into the Minneapolis 3rd Precinct.
Hunter will be arraigned "at a later date," the news release says. He's been ordered to remain in detention "pending further proceedings."
He was the third member of the Boogaloo Bois to be indicted in connection to the civil unrest in the Twin Cities following Floyd's May 25 death by Minneapolis police.
What are the Boogaloo Bois?
The Boogaloo Bois is a far-right extremist movement of loosely connected groups that support anti-government sentiments and are associated with violent uprisings ("Boogaloo" references an impending second Civil War in the U.S.), the Department of Justice says.
Members of the "overwhelmingly white online subculture" have shown up at protests, including in Minneapolis, heavily armed and wearing Hawaiian shirts, says the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which tracks hate groups in the U.S.
The movement started as a meme, which emerged in the early 2010s in antigovernment and white power online spaces with many calling for a race war, SPLC says. The term "boogaloo" is now regularly used by white nationalists and neo-Nazis "who want to see society descend into chaos so that they can come to power and build a new fascist state."
In June, the center said over the past month at least seven men associated with the movement had been arrested in the U.S. for possession of weapons and plotting violent attacks.