Napa man charged with possession of 'fully operational' explosives, cache of weapons

Wayne Freedman Image
ByWayne Freedman KGO logo
Thursday, January 28, 2021
Bay Area man charged with stockpiling weapons, explosives
The Justice Department announced charges against Ian Benjamin Rogers, a Napa man who was accused of possessing pipe bombs and a large cache of firearms and who had sent text messages that threatened "war" if former President Trump left office.

NAPA, Calif. (KGO) -- The Department of Homeland security issued a rare warning on Wednesday about a growing risk of attacks by politically motivated extremists who oppose President Biden.

The warning came shortly after an FBI announcement that it is filing charges against a Napa man arrested last week.

RELATED: US terrorism alert warns of politically motivated violence after 2020 election

Ian Benjamin Rogers, 44, was found in possession of five pipe bombs, 49 firearms, and two dozen ammunition boxes containing thousands of rounds, according to an affidavit filed by FBI Special Agent Stephanie Minor. Investigators also found materials "that could be used to manufacture explosive devices" and a copy of "The Anarchist Cookbook."

The FBI released a photo of pipe bombs and Napa County District Attorney Allison showed weapons, a white privilege card, and more, all found after raids of Rogers' home and business. The 44-year-old owner of an automobile repair shop now faces both state and federal charges. They're serious enough that the FBI went public on Wednesday.

"Our focus is on behavior and those individuals who are not aspirational and have intent to use firearms and explosive devices, said FBI Agent in Charge, Craig Fair.

WATCH: Pipe bombs, dozens of guns, and thousands of bullets: Photos of evidence seized at Napa man's business

NAPA EXTREMIST EVIDENCE: Pipe bombs, 49 guns, thousands of bullets and a 'White Privilege' card; these are just a few of the things FBI officials say they confiscated from suspected Napa extremist Ian Rogers. Tape on the video to see all the photos

The FBI bases those so-called aspirations on alleged text messages from Rogers to an un-named recipient who remains under investigation:

"We can attack Twitter or the Democrats you pick," says one message.

"I think we can attack either easily."

"I want to blow up a democrat building bad."

"The democrats need to pay."

"I hope 45 goes to war if he doesn't I will," says another text message, in reference to former President Donald Trump.

RELATED: Napa man held on $5M bond after cache of weapons, pipe bombs found at home and business

Ian Rodgers of Napa County was arrested after authorities found more than 50 weapons including sniper rifles and semi-automatic guns, plus 15,000 rounds of ammunition, gunpowder, explosives, and five pipe bombs at his home and business.

Napa defense attorney Jess Raphael, who represents Rogers says, "He was an enthusiastic follower of the (former) President of the United States. That used to make him a patriot and now that makes him a terrorist."

Raphael says the FBI and Napa County District Attorney have his client wrong. Rafael suggests that this case is a timely over-reaction to the storming of the Capital on Jan 6.

"I have 38 letters of support for Rogers from the community," Raphael says.

However, those photos and charges do lead to questions, especially about the pipe bombs.

"When detonated, these type of devices can kill anyone within five feet and seriously injure anyone within twenty feet," said Napa District Attorney Allison Haley in a statement on Wednesday.

RELATED: Stunning videos show chaos as pro-Trump rioters breach Capitol

That differs from what Rogers mother, Elaine Bihn Klay, told us shortly after his arrest.

Elaine Bihn Klay: "Well, fireworks from Wyoming."

Wayne Freedman: "Fireworks? What about the ammunition?

Elaine Bihn Klay: "He has had it for years."

Attorney Rafael concurs, "This is just a guy in the community with a gun collection. He is a republican and a gun aficionado."

Rogers now faces a possible 30 years in prison. He remains in jail with bail set at $5 million. He appears again in court on Friday.