Two members of the Boogaloo Bois, a group that espouses a violent anti-government and anti-police ideology and whose objective is to overthrow the government, were charged with trying to provide support for the Palestinian terror group Hamas, a designated foreign terrorist organization.
Michael Robert Solomon, 30, and Benjamin Ryan Teeter, 22, both Americans, are members of the Boogaloo movement and call themselves the “Boojahideen.”
According to the charge sheet, they made offers to supply “untraceable” weapons and parts to an undercover agents posing as a member of Hamas.
The group intended to use the money from the sale to fund training sessions for what they term a “second” Civil War, which the group hopes to spark.
“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.
“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,” he added.
The investigation into Solomon and Teeter began in late May 2020 when a witness spotted Solomon openly carrying firearms in a residential neighborhood in Minneapolis in the aftermath of the civil unrest following the death of George Floyd.
Over the course of the next several days, the witness had a number of interactions with Solomon and Teeter. The witness told FBI agents that Solomon and Teeter possessed firearms and substantial quantities of ammunition and that Solomon, Teeter and other members of the Boogaloo Bois and Boojahideen discussed committing acts of violence against police officers and other targets to further the Boojahideen’s stated goal of overthrowing the government and replacing its police forces.
In early June, the FBI received information about Solomon, Teeter and other members of the Boogaloo Bois and the Boojahideen through a confidential source, whom the defendants believed to be a member of Hamas.
In recorded conversations, Solomon and Teeter noted that Hamas shared the same anti-U.S. government views as they do and offered to employ themselves as “mercenaries” for Hamas as a means to generate cash for the Boogaloo Bois/Boojahideen movement, including funding for recruitment and purchasing land for a training compound.
According to the allegations, Solomon and Teeter shared with the source and another individual whom they believed to be a more senior member of Hamas (and who was actually an undercover agent of the FBI) their ideas about destroying government monuments, raiding the headquarters of a white supremacist organization in North Carolina, and targeting politicians and members of the media.
Solomon and Teeter also expressed their ability to manufacture untraceable parts for guns and create unregistered and untraceable weapons, including suppressors.
On July 30, Solomon and Teeter delivered to the individual they thought was a senior member of Hamas five suppressors and expressed their desire to manufacture additional suppressors and fully-automatic weapons for Hamas.
Solomon and Teeter also delivered to the individual a “drop in auto sear” (“DIAS”), a part designed to convert a weapon to shoot automatically. Solomon and Teeter believed the suppressors and the converters would be used by Hamas overseas to attack Israeli and U.S soldiers.
Who Are the Boogaloo Bois?
The Booaloo Bois is generally thought of as a Far-Right extremist group. Members monitored by Clarion’s Intelligence Network show that they are neo-Nazis, white supremacists and pro-civil war.
However, some newer members who identify as libertarians committed to individual rights (versus government control) make the reality of the group more complicated.
These members can include Blacks and Hispanics. Their strategy oftentimes involves joining violent Antifa or Black Lives Matter protests (since both groups are anti-police and anti-government).
“There’s a lot of overlap and the boundary is blurry because they both evolved together,” said Alex Newhouse, a researcher at Middlebury Institute’s Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism, speaking to USA Today. “It is very difficult to know if the ‘boogaloo boi’ you see standing in the middle of the street at a protest is there in solidarity or to incite violence.”
The name of the group, “boogaloo,” a code word for the second Cvil War comes from the 1984 cult sequel film Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. Members wear iconic Hawaiian shirts as well as tactical gear and carry weapons.
As explained in USA Today,
“The shirts come from the popular term in boogaloo internet spaces, ‘Big Luau,’ from the tradition of luau pig roasts, which boogaloo bois are drawn to because their common reference to police as ‘pigs’ … ‘Big Luau’ is another code used to describe the fall of society.
The movement seeks to capitalize on the current unrest to spark societal downfall.
It started largely from memes in pro-gun social media groups and has reportedly been organized through Facebook, Reddit and YouTube.
During the coronavirus lockdowns, “something changed,” said J.J. MacNab, research fellow at George Washington University’s Program on Extremism. “It put a pressure on [the boogaloo movement] that I’ve never seen before. I saw [online] rhetoric through the roof on killing cops.”
A number of arrests have been made recently of those who claim they are tied to the movement:
- In March, Timothy Wilson, 36, a Missouri man with ties to neo-Nazis, was planning to bomb a hospital in the Kansas City area on the day that the lockdown went into effect. As he explained to an undercover FBI agent, his goal was to “to kick-start a revolution” as part of “Operation Boogaloo.” Wilson was shot and killed when FBI agents tried to arrest him.
- Beginning on May 29, 2020 and over an eight-day period, active duty Air Force Staff Sgt. Steven Carrillo, 32, a boogloo member, allegedly shot and killed a federal security officer and wounded his partner outside a U.S. courthouse. He then killed a California sheriff’s deputy and injured four other officers.
- Also in May, three alleged boogaloo members were arrested on terrorism-related charges. Federal prosecutors say they were trying to spark violence in Las Vegas during the protests over reopening businesses and George Floyd’s death. The complaint against them details how they filled gas cans and made Molotov cocktails in glass bottles before heading to a Black Lives Matter protest.