A North Carolina man and member of the "Boogaloo Bois" who traveled to Minnesota during the protests following George Floyd's killing has pleaded guilty to a terrorism charge.
Benjamin Teeter, 22, of Hampstead, North Carolina, pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a news release. A sentencing date hasn't been scheduled.
“The defendant was a self-described member of the Boogaloo Bois whose extremist ideologies had moved into the realm of violent action,” U.S. Attorney Erica H. MacDonald said in a statement. “I am grateful for the quick and effective action by law enforcement to keep our community safe.”
Tetter, along with Michael Solomon, 30, of New Brighton, Minnesota, were charged with a superseding indictment in early November, both accused of attempting to provide and conspiring to provide material support to Hamas, among other charges.
According to the news release, which cites court documents and Teeter's guilty plea, the FBI began investigating Teeter and Solomon, who is also a member of the "Boogaloo Bois," in late May 2020. A witness had reported seeing Solomon "carrying a firearm in a residential neighborhood of Minneapolis" during the civil unrest following Floyd's death, prosecutors said a previous news release.
Over the next few months, Teeter and Solomon met with people who they believed to be members of Hamas – a Palestinian Islamic political party – but were actually a "confidential human source" and an undercover FBI employee, the release said. The pair expressed an affinity with Hamas over its anti-U.S. government views.
They built and sold suppressors and "auto sears" to who they believed was Hamas with the intention some of the suppressors would be used against Israeli and U.S. soldiers overseas. They offered to fight as mercenaries for the group with the intention of funding the Boogaloo movement, with the release noting they hatched a ploy to destroy a northern Minnesota courthouse.
“This case highlights the real threat posed by domestic violent extremists who self-radicalize and threaten to violently attack others opposed to their views, with little or no warning,” Michael Paul, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Minneapolis field office, said in the release. “Preventing terrorist attacks is the FBI’s No. 1 priority and the primary mission of our Joint Terrorism Task Forces. The FBI and its task force partners will persist in using every investigative tool available to identify, assess and disrupt those willing to compromise the safety of our neighbors and communities.”
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.