Updated: September 04, 2020 10:15 PM
Created: September 04, 2020 03:58 PM
Two self-proclaimed members of a right-wing extremist group have been charged with trying to provide support to a foreign terrorist organization.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said 30-year-old Michael Robert Solomon, of New Brighton, and 22-year-old Benjamin Ryan Teeter, of Hampstead, N.C., are each charged with one count of conspiring and attempting to provide material support to Hamas. Solomon and Teeter were arrested Thursday. Their detention hearing has been set for Wednesday.
A criminal complaint states the FBI began investigating the two men, two members of the "Boogaloo Bois" and a sub-group called the "Boojahideen," in May. The group is known to have violent anti-government sentiments, with the term "Boogaloo" referencing an impending second civil war in the U.S.
The complaint states, during the civil unrest in the Twin Cities following George Floyd's death, Solomon was seen openly carrying a firearm in a residential neighborhood. The two men interacted with a witness over several days and the witness told FBI agents they had firearms and substantial quantities of ammunition. The witness also said the two men and other members of their groups discussed committing acts of violence against police officers and other targets to help further their mission of overthrowing the government and replacing its police forces.
In early June, the FBI learned from a confidential source, whom the two men and other members of their groups believed to be a member of Hamas, that they believed Hamas shared their own anti-U.S. government views. They expressed a desire to employ themselves as "mercenaries" for Hamas to generate cash for their Boogaloo Bois and Boojahideen movement, the complaint continues.
The men also shared with the source and another person they believed to be a senior member of Hamas that they wanted to destroy government monuments, raid the headquarters of a white supremacist organization in North Carolina and target politicians and members of the media, according to the complaint.
Solomon and Teeter also allegedly expressed their ability to manufacture unmarked parts for guns and create untraceable weapons, the complaint states. On July 30, they delivered five suppressors to the confidential source they believed to be a member of Hamas and expressed their desire to manufacture more suppressors and fully automatic weapons for Hamas. The attorney's office said Solomon and Teeter believed the suppressors and a drop-in auto sear would be used by Hamas to attack Israeli and U.S. soldiers.
“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. “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. While planning these activities, the defendants met individuals whom they believed to be members of the foreign terrorist group Hamas. 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. They failed. 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 is committed to identifying and holding them accountable. I want to thank the agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for this case and ensuring that these defendants could not carry out their deadly plans.”
“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. 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,” said United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald. “Whenever extremist ideologies, regardless of their roots, move into the realm of violence, the FBI and its Joint Terrorism Task Force stands at the ready to prevent potentially deadly and destructive plots.”
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