NAPA – A Napa mechanic who was sentenced to nine years in federal prison earlier this month for plotting to bomb the Democrats’ Sacramento headquarters in retaliation for the election loss of President Donald Trump pleaded no contest to state charges on Thursday including possession of illegal firearms and destructive devices.
Ian Benjamin Rogers entered his plea in accordance with a plea agreement in Napa County Superior Court during a brief hearing on Thursday morning. The terms of the plea agreement were not immediately disclosed.
Rogers had been charged with twenty-eight counts of possessing destructive devices and illegal weapons in a complaint filed in January 2021. On Thursday, he pleaded no contest to four of those charges: two counts of possession of a destructive device, one count of conversion of a firearm to a machine gun and one count of owning an unregistered assault weapon. He also pleaded no contest to one new charge, conspiracy.
The remaining counts were dismissed. Rogers is scheduled to be sentenced on April 21.
Rogers pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to destroy a building by fire or explosive in May and was sentenced to nine years in prison earlier this month. A former employee, Jarrod Copeland, was charged as Rogers’ co-conspirator and sentenced to four and a half years in prison. Copeland did not face separate state charges and a judge indicated that he’d provided assistance to the investigation.
Rogers owned British Auto Repair of the Napa Valley for years before his arrest. After the 2020 election, federal authorities received a tip that Rogers, who was angry about the outcome of the election, was plotting violence against political targets. Rogers was affiliated with the Three Percenter movement, which federal prosecutors characterize as an anti-government organization.
Federal law enforcement agents raided Rogers’ home and business in January 2021 and seized nearly 50 guns, including illegal automatic weapons, and five pipe bombs in Rogers’ possession.
Numerous text messages between Rogers and Copeland released by prosecutors showed them plotting to attack the Democrats, the governor’s mansion, and the offices of Facebook and Twitter.
Rogers has said that the text messages were sent when he was angry and drunk but he never seriously intended to act on them. During his sentencing hearing earlier this month, Rogers said that he regretted purchasing illegal weapons and building pipe bombs.
He said that after the 2020 election, many Americans felt “disenfranchised” due to the widespread notion spread by Trump that the Democrats had committed fraud to cost him the presidency. Numerous courts have found Trump’s claims of election fraud to be unfounded.
“I said a lot of silly, stupid things when sitting at home intoxicated,” Rogers said. “I can assure you I never seriously meant them.”
While Rogers and Copeland had discussed a variety of potential targets, their first target was intended to be the state headquarters of the Democratic Party in Sacramento.
During Rogers’ federal sentencing hearing, California Democratic Party Chair Rusty Hicks addressed the court and said that Rogers had impacted the party through the fear and distress he caused the roughly 20 employees and volunteers who work at the party headquarters regularly, the financial burden of increased security, and the chilling effect it had caused for party members who wish to participate in the Democratic process.
Prosecutors previously connected both Rogers and Copeland to a faction of the Three Percenter movement called the Three Percent United Patriots, a nationwide group founded in Colorado. Prosecutors have said that Three Percenters are an extremist group that believes in armed rebellion against the federal government.
Court documents alleged that Copeland sought assistance in the plan from other Three Percenters as well as the extremist group the Proud Boys. Both the Three Percenters and the Proud Boys were among the groups who attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
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THE VALLEJO SUN NEWSLETTER
Investigative reporting, regular updates, events and more
- Three Percenters
- Ian Rogers
- Napa County Superior Court
- Three Percent United Patriots
- Jarrod Copeland
- Donald Trump
- Rusty Hicks
- Proud Boys
Scott Morris is a journalist based in Oakland who covers policing, protest, civil rights and far-right extremism. His work has been published in ProPublica, the Appeal and Oaklandside.
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