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Minn. man expected to plead guilty in weapons case

Jan. 7, 2014 - 01:51PM   |  
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MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota militia member who faces weapons charges in what the FBI once called a “terror plot” to blow up a police station is expected to plead guilty, according to a Tuesday update to a federal court calendar.

Buford Braden Rogers, 25, of Montevideo, was scheduled to go on trial next week on four counts, including charges related to possessing Molotov cocktails, two “black powder nail devices” and a pipe bomb. Instead, a change of plea hearing is now set for Friday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.

Rogers is not charged with terrorism. A message left with his attorney was not immediately returned.

Authorities say Rogers was part of a tiny anti-government militia plotting to blow up the Montevideo police station, raid a National Guard Armory and take out a radio tower to block communications to the city, about 95 miles west of Minneapolis. At the time of his arrest, FBI officials said they believed they stopped a terrorist attack in its planning stages.

According to a redacted transcript of a May 3 interview with the FBI, Rogers told agents he was not violent and didn’t know of anyone planning an attack. He also said he was using the Internet to try to investigate groups he considered to be dangerous, and that he formed his militia to “do good, not harm people,” the transcript said.

“I’m not a bomb guy,” he said, but he talked of making bombs and admitted owning some bomb-making materials, according to the transcript.

Rogers’ father, Jeff Rogers, has said publicly that his son has done nothing wrong and was targeted because he is outspoken about his beliefs.

Police say Rogers and his family started a small, local anti-government militia group called the Black Snake Militia, and Buford Rogers had posted anti-government comments on social media. According to a search warrant affidavit, a witness told the FBI last spring that Rogers was involved in more than an ordinary protest movement or militia group, and planned to launch an attack.

Court documents in Rogers’ case also suggest a possible connection between Rogers and another Minnesota militia member arrested in December.

According to the transcript of the FBI interview, Rogers talked about other people he associated with through his militia, including a man named Keith whom he described as an intelligence officer who used to work with the Army but is now with the National Guard.

In December, authorities arrested Keith Novak, whose first name and career match the description of the man Rogers spoke about. Novak, 25, of Maplewood, is charged with fraud in connection with identity theft. He is accused of stealing the personal information of members of his former Army unit to make fake IDs for people in his own militia.

Authorities say Novak is the self-described commander of a group called the 44th Spatha Libertas. Novak remains in custody pending a federal trial on the fraud charge.

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