2 alleged “boogaloo” members arrested in Michigan and Ohio

DETROIT (AP) – The FBI has arrested two alleged members of the far-right anti-government group Boogaloo Boys, and officials grew increasingly concerned about the possibility of violence in the run-up to next week’s mid-term election.

Timothy Teagan appeared in a Detroit federal court on Wednesday on charges of drug addiction, possession of weapons and ammunition, and making a false statement in connection with the acquisition of a firearm, according to an unsealed federal complaint.

Meanwhile, the FBI said in a criminal complaint on Monday that there was enough evidence to accuse Aron McKillips of Sandusky, Ohio, of illegally possessing a machine gun and interstate communications over the threats. He says McKillips is a member of the Boogaloo Boys and is believed to belong to a militia group known as the Sons of Liberty.

The timing of the law enforcement action is noteworthy in part because it takes place just a few days before the mid-term elections. After the FBI searched his home last month, Teagan told documentary Ford Fischer that federal agents questioned him specifically about the potential violence planned for the upcoming elections.

“They were very, very specific about everything that happens to the elections,” he said. “They asked if I knew of any violent plans or any violent tendencies that might arise in connection with the elections … They asked if we had any plans to go to the arms polls.”

Since the 2020 elections, electoral workers have increasingly been the target of threats and harassment, and the situation has only gotten worse in recent weeks with five accused of bullying.

Election officials across the country are concerned about the flood of conspiracy theorists reporting for work as poll observers, with some groups smuggling lies about the recruitment and training of 2020 election observers.

The arrest of suspicious members of the Boogaloo Boys is reminiscent of a similar police move in Washington, DC, which arrested the leader of the Proud Boys just days before the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol Hill, when lawmakers were attesting to Joe Biden’s victory. Members of the far-right group, along with the leaders of another extremist group, the Oath Keepers, were later accused of a subversive conspiracy.

McKillips’ attorney, Neil McElroy, said in an email Wednesday that McKillips had been detained and asked for McKillips to be released pending a November 9 hearing in Toledo, Ohio.

In a criminal complaint against McKillips, the FBI says he has repeatedly threatened on the Internet, including one to kill a police officer and another to kill anyone it deems a federal informant.

The FBI says McKillips provided other Boogaloo Boys members with equipment to convert rifles to machine guns, such as during a trip to Lansing, Michigan in April 2021. “I was literally handing out machine guns in Michigan,” McKillips said in the video, says the complaint.

In September 2021, he said on a private chat group, “I don’t have a federal cadaver badge yet, so my time is not over here, lol,” according to the complaint.

In May of this year, McKillips and another Signal messaging system user threatened to kill another Signal user, believing the person was an informant who worked for the FBI or the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Bureau. . And in July, McKillips threatened Signal in a chat that he would “light a hog”, meaning he would kill a policeman if conditions worsened after the fatal police shootout in Akron in July.

McKillips has frequently advocated violence against police officers, federal agents and government buildings, high-end stores like Walmart and Target, and even threatened to blow up Facebook headquarters.

During Wednesday’s hearing of Teagan, a federal judge ordered him to wait until Friday’s bond hearing.

Dressed in a colorful Hawaiian-style shirt – a kind of uniform for followers of the so-called boogaloo movement that proclaims the Second US Civil War imminent – Teagan told the court that he could try to detain his own lawyer.

Police in the Detroit suburb of Plymouth arrested Teagan on October 25 and charged him with assault and battery in connection with the attack on his father. FBI agents searching his room at his father’s Plymouth home four days later found a bulletproof vest, flags and patches with boogaloo movements, and gas masks, according to a criminal complaint. They also took the pistol from his brother’s vehicle.

According to the complaint, Teagan submitted an ATF form for the purchase of firearms on July 17 and certified that he did not use controlled substances. But on October 27, agents confiscated packages of what appeared to be marijuana, bongs, and other drug-related accessories from Teagan’s room.

His brother, Christopher Teagan, told an FBI agent of the Joint Terrorism Task Force that he had brought Timothy Teagan “a ton of weed” after his brother was released on robbery charges.

Teagan was one of a dozen people who openly carried a gun during a demonstration in January 2021 outside the Michigan Capitol in Lansing. Some of them promoted the boogaloo movement. Teagan then told reporters that the purpose of the demonstration was “to call for peace and unity left and right.”

Some of the boogaloo promoters say that they don’t really advocate violence. But the movement is linked to a host of terrorist plots in the country. The Department of Homeland Security has warned of the potential threats of internal terrorism from boogaloo supporters.

Teagan’s brother Christopher Teagan told the Associated Press after Wednesday’s hearing that his brother, through his ties to the boogaloo movement, “has never been involved in any kind of violence.”

“He has just been to the protests,” said 24-year-old Christopher Teagan in front of the courtroom. “I think (the FBI) ​​will pursue him unfairly or more severely because of his affiliation with the group.”

Federal government actions may reflect the different people in the boogaloo movement “approaching violence,” said Javed Ali, associate professor at the University of Michigan and a former US government counter-terrorism official.

“Maybe this is part of a more nationwide effort to finally start arresting and disturbing people who have moved beyond the anger phase,” said Ali.

Such arrests could put previously unacceptable people into the “accountability system,” said Cliff Lampe, professor of information and online interaction specialist around extremist groups at the University of Michigan.

“I think a more likely version of this is that we are not arresting people for pre-crime crimes and we are not taking red flags as signs of guilt,” said Lampe. “Sometimes law enforcement agencies in all areas, from the city to the federal government, will file charges to bring a person closer to law enforcement to comply with them.”

Timothy Teagan’s arrest came just days after three militia members were convicted of providing “material support” for a terrorist act in connection with a plan to kidnap Michigan’s democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer. Prosecutors argued that the defendants support the boogaloo movement.

And Steven Carrillo, an Air Force sergeant who officials say is associated with the boogaloo movement, was sentenced to life in August without parole for the murder of a Northern California Sheriff’s Sergeant. In June, a federal judge sentenced Carrillo to 41 years in prison for killing a federal security agent who was attacked with a colleague while guarding a federal building in Oakland.

___

Welsh Huggins reported from Columbus, Ohio.

Source

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *