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Two men charged with attempting to provide material support to terrorist organization

Michael Robert Solomon, 30, and Benjamin Ryan Teeter, 22, were taken into custody Thursday evening and made their initial court appearance on Friday in Minneapolis.
Credit: Sherburne County Jail

MINNEAPOLIS — Two men have been charged with conspiring and attempting to provide material to support Hamas – a designated foreign terrorist organization.

According to the allegations in the criminal complaint and law enforcement affidavit, Michael Robert Solomon, 30, and Benjamin Ryan Teeter, 22, are self-described "Boogaloo Bois," a group that is loosely connected to individuals who support anti-government sentiments.

During the civil unrest throughout the Twin Cities following the death of George Floyd, a witness said Solomon was openly carrying a firearm in a residential neighborhood in Minneapolis. Both Solomon and Teeter were in contact with the witness over the course of several days. The witness told FBI agents that Solomon and Teeter both possessed firearms and substantial quantities of ammunition, and had discussed with other member of the Boogaloo Bois and members of a sub-group called "Boojahideen" committing violent acts against police officers and other targets.

“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 United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald in a release. “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.”

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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, whom the defendants believed to be a member of Hamas.

“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.,” Jill Sanborn, Assistant Director of the FBI's Counterterrorism Division said in a release.  "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.”

In an audio-recorded conversation, Solomon and Teeter expressed that Hamas shares anti-U.S. government views that align with their own, and that they wanted to be "mercenaries" for Hamas as a way to make money for their movement.

According to the allegations in the criminal complaint and law enforcement affidavit, Solomon and Teeter shared with the confidential source and another individual, an undercover FBI employee who they believed to be a more senior member of Hamas, their ideas of destroying government monuments, raiding the headquarters of a white supremacist organization in North Carolina and targeting politicians and media members.

Court documents also say Solomon and Teeter expressed their ability to manufacture unmarked parts for guns and unregistered and untraceable weapons, including suppressors.

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On July 30, Solomon and Teeter delivered five suppressors to the individual they believed to be a senior member of Hamas, according to the criminal complaint and law enforcement affidavit. Solomon and Teeter also expressed their desire to manufacture additional suppressors and fully automatic weapons for Hamas. The two negotiated a price of $1,800 with the individual for five additional suppressors and also delivered a "drop in auto sear," which is a part intended to convert a weapon to shoot automatically.

According to the allegations in the criminal complaint and law enforcement affidavit, Solomon and Teeter believed the suppressors and the drop in auto sear would be used by Hamas overseas to attack Israeli and U.S. soldiers.

According to a release from U.S. Attorney MacDonald's office, Solomon and Teeter were taken into custody Thursday evening and made their initial court appearance on Friday in Minneapolis. Both will remain in custody pending a formal detention hearing, which is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 9.

“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 in a release. “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.”