A southern Minnesota man has pleaded guilty to a federal weapons violation after being accused of bragging about his illegal shotgun and plans to kill a law enforcement officer at a rally in support of former President Donald Trump at the Minnesota Capitol in January.
Dayton C. Sauke, 22, of Owatonna, on Wednesday admitted in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis to illegal possession of an unregistered firearm following his arrest after he allegedly sold an illegal firearm to two undercover agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Many of Sauke's social media posts reflected antigovernment sentiments similar to the Boogaloo Bois, according to court records. One social media photo showed Sauke carrying a gun along with the caption "Sic Semper Tyrannis," a Latin phrase co-opted by the Boogaloo movement meaning justice will befall tyrants. The same words were uttered by Abraham Lincoln's assassin and appeared on Timothy McVeigh's T-shirt the day he killed 168 people in the 1995 bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City.
On Snapchat and his public-facing Instagram page, Sauke posted photos of himself holding guns alongside far-right sentiments and expressions of a desire to kill someone, namely a police officer or politician, according to court records. One post shows him burning an American flag with a blue stripe — a symbol of the pro-law enforcement Blue Lives Matter movement — alongside the caption: "Police lives don't matter."
Federal agents began monitoring Sauke last year after a confidential informant said he posted on social media about manufacturing and selling guns. Wednesday's plea agreement spells out a possible prison term ranging from 21 to 41 months. Sentencing has yet to be scheduled.
According to court documents: The Olmsted County Sheriff's Office received information that Sauke was selling narcotics and manufacturing and dealing firearms without a license. Law enforcement agents monitored Sauke's Snapchat account, where he made numerous posts implicating himself in manufacturing and dealing firearms without a license. Sauke also posted pictures of a short-barreled shotgun and made several threatening posts about killing law enforcement and politicians.
On Jan. 12, as plans circulated for armed rallies at the Minnesota Capitol to protest the results of the presidential election, Sauke began to post more about killing law enforcement there, and appeared to urge others to do the same. "If its only me out here killing police," he posted, then the "left" will cast him as a white supremacist.
On Jan. 15, he met the ATF agents in a parking lot in Faribault. Both posed as potential customers interested in buying guns. He sold one of the agents a gun for $1,500, and they paid him another $900 after negotiating another sale.
Sauke told the agents he sold 120 firearms last year, according to the charges, and he showed them pictures of other guns on his cellphone.
After arresting him, the agents saw the sawed-off shotgun in his car next to some ammunition.
Star Tribune staff writer Andy Mannix contributed to this report.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482