A member of the anti-government Boogaloo Bois pleaded guilty Wednesday to attempting to provide weapons to Hamas, a designated terrorist organization, in the days and weeks following protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Benjamin Ryan Teeter, 22, could face up to 20 years in prison for the federal felony. His sentencing has not been scheduled.
Appearing via video and wearing orange jail garb, Teeter told U.S. District Judge Michael Davis that he came to Minneapolis from North Carolina after Floyd's death. He and Michael Robert Solomon, 30, another Boogaloo Bois member who's charged with the same crimes, met several times with two men they believed represented Hamas, but who were actually working covertly for the federal government. Teeter and Solomon negotiated selling gun suppressors and a "drop in auto sear" — a device that converts semi-automatic weapons into illegal machine guns, according to charges.
Teeter acknowledged in court he believed the materials would be used by the militant wing of Hamas. "I mean, why would someone buy suppressors if they weren't going to deliver them to a militant wing?" he said.
Teeter said they hoped Hamas would help them "to exit the country and open a training facility" for Boogaloo Bois, a loose-knit, far-right group bent on starting the next American civil war. He and Solomon also planned to bomb a courthouse in northern Minnesota, and then changed their target to an unspecified courthouse in the Twin Cities, he said in court Wednesday.
"This case highlights the real threat posed by domestic violent extremists who self-radicalize and threaten to violently attack others opposed to their views, with little or no warning," said Michael Paul, special agent in charge of the FBI's Minneapolis field office, which led the investigation.
According to court documents, Teeter, of North Carolina, is part of a group called "Boojahideen," a subgroup of the Boogaloo Bois. Around the time of the riots, he and Solomon "discussed committing acts of violence against police officers and other targets in furtherance of the Boojahideen's stated goal of overthrowing the government and replacing its police forces," a witness told the FBI. They talked about destroying government monuments, raiding the headquarters of a white supremacist organization in North Carolina and targeting politicians and members of the media, according to court documents.
In recorded conversations, Teeter and Solomon told undercover government sources they wanted to become mercenaries for Hamas to generate cash for the Boogaloo movement, and that they shared anti-U.S. government views, according to court documents. They met several times with undercover employees for the FBI, and in July they purchased a large drill press to make the suppressors. Teeter and Solomon delivered five suppressors to undercover sources on July 30 and agreed to make more, which they believed "would be used against Israeli and United States military personnel overseas," according to court documents.
"The defendant was a self-described member of the Boogaloo Bois whose extremist ideologies had moved into the realm of violent action," said Minnesota U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald. "I am grateful for the quick and effective action by law enforcement to keep our community safe."
In addition to Teeter and Solomon, another Boogaloo member, Ivan Hunter, is also facing federal charges related to the Floyd riots. Hunter allegedly shot a rifle 13 times into the burning Minneapolis Third Precinct, while people were inside, in an attempt to achieve the Boogaloo Bois' goal of ramping up violence and starting a civil war.
Andy Mannix • 612-673-4036