SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Two men were indicted in what the Federal Bureau of Investigation called a conspiracy to attack Democratic Headquarters in Sacramento.
On Thursday, authorities announced that Ian Rogers, 45 of Napa, and Jarrod Copeland, 37 of Vallejo, were indicted for conspiring to attack Democratic Headquarters with "incendiary devices."
Authorities said Copeland was arrested in Sacramento Wednesday morning. Rogers was arrested in January on state illegal firearm charges after sheriff’s deputies and federal agents said they found weapons and explosives at his home and auto repair shop.
In a news release from the Department of Justice, officials, citing the indictment, said the two men planned to used incendiary devices to attack their targets and "hoped their attacks would prompt a movement."
“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,” said U.S. Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds. “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.”
Officials said the indictment described how the two talked about the attacks on numerous occasions, noting examples where Rogers allegedly told Copeland Copeland, “I want to blow up a democrat building bad.”
According to the DOJ news release, the John L. Burton Democratic Headquarters in Sacramento was their starting point. Authorities said one exchange between the two suggested they would start acts of violence after the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20.
California Democratic Party Chair Rusty Hicks responded to the news Thursday evening. He called the reports "extremely disturbing."
"We are relieved to know the plot was unsuccessful, the individuals believed to be responsible are in custody, and our staff and volunteers are safe and sound," Hicks said, in part, in a statement.
"Yet, it points to a broader issue of violent extremism that is far too common in today’s political discourse. And, while we will continue to take every necessary precaution to keep everyone safe, we will not be distracted," he continued. "We will not be deterred. We will not be dissuaded from the important work of protecting and preserving a democracy that works for every person who calls California home."
Copeland was accused of trying to destroy evidence of the plan.
Officials said Rogers allegedly told Copeland that he would attack democrat-associated targets like the Governor's Mansion and the Democratic Headquarters Building.
"The FBI's highest priority has remained preventing terrorist attacks before they occur, including homegrown plots from domestic violent extremists. As described in the indictment, Ian Rogers and Jarrod Copeland planned an attack using incendiary devices. The FBI and the Napa county Sheriff's Office worked hand-in-hand to uncover this conspiracy and to prevent any loss of life," the FBI said in a statement.
If convicted, the two men face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a three-year term of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine for the conspiracy charge. Additionally, Rogers faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for the weapons charge while Copeland faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for the destruction of evidence charge. Authorities said Rogers also faces state charges regarding possession of pipe bombs, machine guns, and assault rifles banned under California law.
Rogers is still in state custody since arrest in January. Copeland was arrested Wednesday morning and will appear for a detention hearing on July 20. Rogers will appear for a status conference on July 30.