The US Justice Department on Friday announced a federal criminal complaint charging Michael Robert Solomon, 30, and Benjamin Ryan Teeter, 22, with conspiring and attempting to provide material support to Hamas, a designated foreign terrorist organization.
Solomon and Teeter, who were taken into custody on Thursday, made their initial appearances in court earlier Friday and were ordered to remain in custody pending a formal detention hearing, which is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020.
“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. “As alleged in the complaint, these defendants sought to use violence against the police, other government officials and government property as part of their desire to overthrow the government. While planning these activities, the defendants met individuals whom they believed to be members of the foreign terrorist group Hamas. Thinking that they shared the same desire to harm the United States, they sought to join forces and provide support, including in the form of weapons accessories, to Hamas. They failed. 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. I want to thank the agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for this case and ensuring that these defendants could not carry out their deadly plans.”
“Michael Solomon and Benjamin Teeter proclaim themselves to be members of the Boogaloo Bois, a group that espouses a violent ideology and an objective to overthrow the government. The defendants believed their anti-U.S. government views aligned with those of Hamas, a foreign terrorist organization, and actively developed plans to carry out violence in Minnesota and elsewhere,” said U.S. Attorney Erica H. MacDonald. “Whenever extremist ideologies, regardless of their roots, move into the realm of violence, the FBI and its Joint Terrorism Task Force stands at the ready to prevent potentially deadly and destructive plots.”
“The FBI is committed to stopping acts of violence against law enforcement officers or anyone else in our communities. According to the criminal complaint, the defendants in this case were willing to work with Hamas, a foreign terrorist organization, in order to get money for potential acts of violence here in the U.S.,” said Jill Sanborn, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division. “The FBI’s Minneapolis Field Office demonstrated that we will continue working with our law enforcement partners to detect and stop such activity and protect public safety.”
According to the allegations in the criminal complaint and law enforcement affidavit, in late May of 2020, the FBI initiated an investigation into Solomon and Teeter, two members of the “Boogaloo Bois,” and a sub-group called the “Boojahideen.” The Boogaloo Bois are a loosely- connected group of individuals who espouse violent anti-government sentiments. The term “Boogaloo” itself references a supposedly impending second civil war in the United States and is associated with violent uprisings against the government.
According to the allegations in the criminal complaint and law enforcement affidavit, during the civil unrest in the Twin Cities following the death of George Floyd, according to a witness, Solomon was openly carrying firearms in a residential neighborhood in Minneapolis. Solomon and Teeter interacted with the witness over the course of several days. 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 in furtherance of the Boojahideen’s stated goal of overthrowing the government and replacing its police forces.
According to the allegations in the criminal complaint and law enforcement affidavit, in early June, the FBI received information about Solomon, Teeter, and other members of the Boogaloo Bois and the Boojahideen through a confidential human source (“CHS”), whom the defendants believed to be a member of Hamas. In audio-recorded conversations, Solomon and Teeter expressed that Hamas shares anti-U.S. government views that align with their own views. Solomon and Teeter also expressed their desire 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 in the criminal complaint and law enforcement affidavit, Solomon and Teeter shared with the CHS, and another individual whom they believed to be a more senior member of Hamas (and who was actually an undercover employee 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 unmarked parts for guns and create unregistered and untraceable weapons, including suppressors. On July 30, Solomon and Teeter delivered to the individual they believed to be a senior member of Hamas five suppressors and expressed their desire to manufacture additional suppressors and fully-automatic weapons for Hamas. Solomon and Teeter later negotiated with the individual a price of $1,800 for five additional suppressors. Solomon and Teeter also delivered to the individual a “drop in auto sear” (“DIAS”), a part designed and intended for use in converting a weapon to shoot automatically. Solomon and Teeter believed the suppressors and the DIAS would be used by Hamas overseas to attack Israeli and U.S soldiers.