Two men have been indicted on charges that they allegedly conspired to use incendiary devices to attack the Democratic Party headquarters in Sacramento, the FBI's office in San Francisco has announced.
The men, Ian Rogers and Jarrod Copeland, are facing federal charges of conspiracy to destroy a building affecting interstate commerce and related crimes, according to the indictments that were unsealed Thursday, reports NBC affiliate KCRA in Sacramento.
"Firebombing your perceived political opponents is illegal and does not nurture the sort of open and vigorous debate that created and supports our constitutional democracy," acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hinds commented.
Copeland was arrested in Sacramento on Wednesday, but Rogers was arrested in January when he was charged in federal court with stockpiling illegal weapons.
Copeland is expected to be in court in San Francisco on July 20, and Rogers will be in court on July 30. Rogers, 44, of Napa, had been arrested after sheriff’s deputies and federal agents, acting on an anonymous tip, found a cache of weapons at his home and auto repair shop, including at least eight illegal guns, five pipe bombs, thousands of rounds of ammunition, materials to make weapons, and manuals such as "The Anarchist Cookbook," "U.S. Army Improvised Munitions Handbook," and "Homemade C-4 A Recipe for Survival," reports KCRA.
In a statement about the indictments, the FBI's Sacramento office said the agency's highest priority has remained in "preventing terrorist attacks before they occur, including homegrown plots from domestic violent extremists ... the FBI and the Napa County Sheriff's Office have worked hand-in-hand to uncover this conspiracy and prevent any loss of life."
The FBI added that the allegations in the indictment "describe despicable conduct. Investigation and prosecution of those who choose violence over discussion is as important as anything else we do to protect our free society."
Tracie Stafford, who chairs Sacramento County's Democratic Party, called the alleged plot and indictment "symptoms of a larger issue, and that is our society and this separatism."
She added that she thanks the FBI for its work, "but in this day and age we should not be concerned about violence and terrorism just for participating in the democratic process."
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