Two self-described supporters of the anti-government ‘Boogaloo’ movement have been arrested and charged with attempting to provide material support to Hamas in a bizarre alleged plot to bomb a county courthouse and assassinate white supremacists and national politicians.
Michael Robert Solomon, 30, and Benjamin Ryan Teeter, 22, were arrested on Thursday in Minnesota on federal charges of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.
The Boogaloo movement is a loosely organized network of anti-government extremists who advocate the violent overthrow of the U.S. government, and predict and hope for an impending civil war, which they refer to as ‘Civil War 2: Electric Boogaloo,’ a reference to the title of the 1984 sequel to the film Breakin’.
Hamas is a Palestinian Sunni-Islamic fundamentalist militant group, which is a federally designated foreign terrorist organization.
‘This case can only be understood as a disturbing example of the old adage, “The enemy of your enemy is your friend,”‘ said Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the National Security Division in a statement on the case.
‘Thinking that they shared the same desire to harm the United States, they sought to join forces and provide support, including in the form of weapons accessories, to Hamas,’ Demers said of the two defendants.
Michael Robert Solomon, 30, (left) and Benjamin Ryan Teeter, 22, (right) were arrested on Thursday in Minnesota on federal charges of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization
Solomon (right) is seen joining protests in Minneapolis over the in-custody death of George Floyd in late May. He and Teeter allegedly expressed a desire to overthrow the US government and remove all police from the country
Prosecutors say that Teeter and Solomon conspired to build illegal silencers and delivered them to an undercover agent whom they believed was a Hamas operative.
According to the indictment, Teeter traveled to Minnesota from his home in Hampstead, North Carolina in late May to support protests there against police brutality after George Floyd died in police custody.
”’Lock and load boys. Boog flags are in the air, and the national network is going off,’ Teeter wrote in a Facebook post the day after Floyd’s death.
In Minnesota, Teeter teamed up with Solomon, a resident of the Minneapolis suburb of New Brighton, according to prosecutors.
In late May, DailyMail.com interviewed an associate of Solomon, who was not named in the indictment, after he and Solomon were spotted standing guard in front of a tobacco store in Minneapolis armed with AR-15-style weapons.
Solomon said in a video interview: ‘Basically, you’ve seen the records that cops keep, and cops are a lot less likely to tread on people’s rights when there’s other armed Americans with them. So I figure it’s about damn time heavily armed rednecks stand with fellow American citizens.’
Solomon and the men he was with said that they supported the protests and demanded justice for Floyd, but were opposed to riots and looting and wanted to protect private property.
Solomon (standing left) is seen on May 27 during protests and riots in Minneapolis. He said at the time that he supported the protests, but was opposed to riots and looting
Solomon, carrying a rifle, is seen at protests in Minneapolis in late May. Prosecutors say that he and Teeter attempted to make illegal silencers for the militant group Hamas
Who are the Boogaloo Bois?
The Boogaloo movement is a loosely organized network of anti-government extremists who advocate the violent overthrow of the U.S. government.
Supporters predict and hope for an impending civil war, which they refer to as ‘Civil War 2: Electric Boogaloo,’ a reference to the title of the 1984 sequel to the film Breakin’.
Boogaloo activists are often spotted heavily armed and wearing Hawaiian shirts, a reference to the ‘Big Luau,’ a code-word they adopted when Facebook banned Boogaloo-related groups.
Their beliefs are not always easily categorized in conventional political terms, but might be best described as extreme libertarian.
They are opposed to the police and American government, which they hope to see overthrown.
Though they have sometimes been described as white supremacists, some Boogaloo supporters appear to be violently opposed to racist ideology.
According to the indictment, Solomon and Teeter first came onto the FBI’s radar when a witness came forward and reported disturbing encounters with the two men, who were staying temporarily at the witness’s home with firearms and ‘substantial quantities’ of ammunition.
The witness said that Solomon claimed his group, the ‘Boojahideen’, was opposed to the police, white supremacists and looters, and that his ultimate goal was to remove the police from Minneapolis and overthrow the U.S. government, prosecutors say.
After the FBI received the tip, a paid informant for the Bureau made contact with Solomon on Facebook under the guise of being a member of Hamas.
The informant went on to have meetings with Solomon and Teeter, which were covertly recorded by the FBI, where the two suspects allegedly discussed plans to provide ‘untraceable’ weapons and silencers to Hamas to use against the American government and U.S. forces in the Middle East.
In return, the two ‘Boogaloo Bois’ sought financial support from Hamas, as well as C-4 military-grade explosives to use in a plot to blow up a historic county courthouse in Minnesota, according to the indictment.
Teeter said that the courthouse was a target because it was ‘a symbol of the unjust laws that America upholds’ and had ‘low security,’ the indictment says.
According to the indictment, Solomon and Teeter also told the informant — and an undercover FBI agent posing as a senior member of Hamas — that they had plans to kill politicians, journalists, and white supremacists.
The two men discussed their plan to raid the headquarters of a white supremacist organization in North Carolina, stating ‘if we can, make it so twenty, forty of them can’t go home … it’s a win-win,’ the indictment states.
Teeter is seen left in a North Carolina mugshot in May, when he was arrested for driving with a revoked license, and right in a social media photo
Benjamin Ryan Teeter is seen in a Twitter photo. Prosecutors say he traveled to Minneapolis to support the George Floyd protests, seeking a violent overthrow of the government
In a photo submitted as evidence in the case Solomon is seen center, and Teeter to his left
Solomon allegedly said: ‘[a]s soon as we, you know, mark the politicians that we want to. I’d be fine with going after the media after that. I’m not necessarily talking about the journalists on the street. Yeah, they lie. I’m more talking, I just want to take out the top 20 percent people at each company.’
Then the undercover agent asked about the reference to politicians, Teeter replied ”that would be a future thing,’ according to the indictment.
Solomon added: ‘[w]ell, for the future , I’d build a gallows … in front of the Congress building in D.C. and just start hanging politicians left and right.’
When asked about the armed security provided to top members of Congress, Teeter replied: ‘you can’t stop threats that you can’t see. I shoot precision long-range bolt rifles. I, I do most of my shooting beyond half a mile. And I can easily, with a well-equipped rifle, shoot to fifteen hundred yards.’
Teeter told the undercover agent that he was an ‘anarchist’ who wants to ‘completely remove the government, then just start over,’ and Solomon added, ‘our goal is to tear it down,’ investigators say.
Solomon and Teeter ‘discussed shooting 20 US senators’
On August 12, in a recorded conversation with the FBI informant, Solomon and Teeter made the following remarks, according to the indictment.
SOLOMON: Here ‘s the thing. If and when we make a statement right. I don’ t want to blow up some f***ing bulls**t courthouse in the middle of nowhere Minnesota.
TEETER: That’s why I picked a different one. I picked a really famous one.
INFORMANT: Oh my god
SOLOMON: Here ‘s the thing. I want to like take down twenty senators while they’re playing f***ing baseball, right?
TEETER: That is a better idea, that is a much better idea.
CHS: Oh my god. Twenty what?
TEETER and SOLOMON (together): Senators.
TEETER: Like U.S. Senators.
SOLOMON: I don’t want to blow up a courthouse. I want to murder a bunch of U.S. politicians. That’s the statement I want to make.
CHS: That’s a statement for real.
TEETER: I mean, people have definitely shot some before. If anyone can get a shot off at them means we could easily take out the rest of them.
Solomon posted this image on Facebook urging his followers to ‘join the United States Boojahideen,’ and apparent play on Islamic guerrilla fighters known as ‘mujahideen.’ The Latin caption posted with the image translates to ‘if you want peace, prepare for war’
Prosecutors say that Solomon and Teeter also expressed their ability to manufacture unmarked parts for guns and create unregistered and untraceable weapons, including suppressors and AR-15s.
Teeter told the informant: ‘[w]ith about $700 dollars of equipment I can produce … unmarked and untraceable AR-15s,’ according to the indictment. Solomon added, [y]eah, … we can also make ‘ em fully automatic if you’ d like. ‘
On July 30, Solomon and Teeter delivered to the individual they believed to be a senior member of Hamas five suppressors and expressed their desire to manufacture additional suppressors and fully-automatic weapons for Hamas,’ prosecutors say.
Solomon and Teeter later allegedly negotiated with the individual a price of $1,800 for five additional suppressors.
The two men also delivered to the individual a ‘drop in auto sear’ (‘DIAS’), a part designed and intended for use in converting a weapon to shoot automatically, according to the indictment.
Solomon and Teeter believed the suppressors and the DIAS would be used by Hamas overseas to attack Israeli and U.S soldiers, prosecutors say.
‘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,’ said said U.S. Attorney Erica H. MacDonald in a 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,’ MacDonald continued.
In addition to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted with the investigation of the case.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew R. Winter, and Trial Attorneys George Kraehe and Phil Viti of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
Solomon and Teeter are currently being held without bail pending a formal detention hearing on September 9. It was not immediately clear whether they had attorneys to speak on their behalf.
If convicted, they face up to 20 years in federal prison.