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The Department of Justice announced a federal criminal complaint charging two men believed to be affiliated with an anti-government extremist group of conspiring with and attempting to provide material support to the designated terrorist organization, Hamas.
Michael Robert Solomon, 30, and Benjamin Ryan Teeter, 22, appeared in front of the Magistrate Court in Minneapolis, Minn., Friday. They were ordered to stay in custody pending their formal hearing Wednesday, Sept. 9.
“This case can only be understood as a disturbing example of the old adage, ‘The enemy of your enemy is your friend,’” Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the National Security Division said in a statement Friday. “As alleged in the complaint, these defendants sought to use violence against the police, other government officials and government property as part of their desire to overthrow the government.”
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The Boogaloo members use that term as slang for a second civil war or the total collapse of civilization. Members are said to hold varying degrees of extreme beliefs, with some espousing neo-Nazi and white supremacist views and others claiming to be radically libertarian.
Regardless of ideology, most memebrs agree on being aggressively anti-government and anti-law enforcement – seeking to destroy the U.S. as a society while wearing vibrant Hawaiian shirts as their uniform of choice under amo covered vests, reported The New York Times.
“Michael Solomon and Benjamin Teeter proclaim themselves to be members of the Boogaloo Bois, a group that espouses a violent ideology and an objective to overthrow the government,” U.S. Attorney Erica H. MacDonald said in a Friday statement. “The defendants believed their anti-U.S. government views aligned with those of Hamas, a foreign terrorist organization, and actively developed plans to carry out violence in Minnesota and elsewhere.”
Boogaloo members, like other extremists, have utilized the recent Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died while in police custody in May, the government has said.
While peaceful demonstrations have erupted across the nation protesting police brutality and systemic racism in the U.S., various groups have relied on the wave of demonstrations to recruit online and commit violence while in public.
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The FBI initiated their investigation into Solomon and Teeter in May, immediately following Floyd’s death and the protests that erupted.
Solomon was seen openly carrying firearms through a residential neighborhood. He and Teeter were armed with large amounts of ammunition. They were overheard discussing acts of violence against police and other targets.
The FBI learned of additional information about Solomon, Teeter, and other members through a confidential human source in June. Audio recordings captured conversations that Solomon and Teeter had expressing the belief that Hamas shared their anti-U.S. government agenda.
The two defendants wanted to employ themselves as “mercenaries” for Hamas as a way to generate cash for the Boogaloo Bois and the Boojahideen movement. They intended to raise funds for recruitment and to purchase land for a training compound, according to the DOJ statement.
Solomon and Teeter shared their plans with who they believed was a senior member in Hamas, but was actually an undercover FBI agent. The two Boogaloo members planned on “destroying government monuments, raiding the headquarters of a white supremacist organization in North Carolina, and targeting politicians and members of the media.”
They also reportedly discussed their ability to develop parts for guns to produce unregistered and untraceable weapons, including suppressors, with the FBI agent.
The defendants negotiated and sold $1,800’s worth of suppressors and delivered a Drop In Auto Sear (DIAS), a mechanism that allows a weapon to be converted to have automatic shooting capabilities.
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“Solomon and Teeter believed the suppressors and the DIAS would be used by Hamas overseas to attack Israeli and U.S soldiers,” the DOJ statement said Friday.
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