Rogers family say son was not planning domestic terrorism
MONTEVIDEO — Buford “Bucky” Rogers was part of a home-grown militia, had a temper and may have been too outspoken, but did not possess explosive devices or plan terrorist activities, his parents said Monday afternoon as media converged on their home in the Northdale Trailer Court on Benson Road in Montevideo.
“Who out there doesn’t get mad at stuff on TV and say things,” said Margaret Rogers, the mother of the 24-year-old man now in federal custody on a firearms charge and accused of plotting a terror attack. She suggested that her son’s postings on Facebook may have brought him to the attention of law enforcement, but she said her son would not have carried out any violent activities.
Her husband and Buford Roger’s father, Jeff Rogers, called the accusations brought against his son by the Federal Bureau of Investigation “bogus.” Rogers said they confiscated six rifles, a handgun and computers from their trailer home, but they deny that there were explosive devices.
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Buford Rogers was a regular visitor to his family’s home, according to his parents and neighbors, but his parents say he does not live there.
Jeff Rogers said the seized guns belonged to him, and that his son would not violate a probation requirement that he not possess firearms. He was convicted in 2011 for burglary in the third degree. (See related story.)
Neighbors reported that federal agents and members of the Bloomington Police Department bomb squad took materials from a shed on the Rogers’ property on Friday to a city compost site north of the trailer park at least two and possibly three different times. Moments after each trip, they heard explosions that were much louder than could be made by firearms. Montevideo Police Chief Adam Christopher said he understands that explosive devices were detonated.
The FBI reported that Rogers’ arrest on Friday and the action to seize materials thwarted a domestic terror attack and may have saved several lives.
Chief Christopher said he could not disclose who were the alleged targets, but said the individuals have been informed. The arrest of Rogers on Friday followed a lengthy investigation by Montevideo police officers in cooperation with federal authorities.
Jeff Rogers, 57, and his son, Shawn, 17, wore camouflage clothing Monday and stood in front of their home where a sign “B.S.M” advertised the Black Snake Militia they created. Another sign warned against the “slavery” of what they initialed as I.F.R.D., a reference to a radio frequency device that can be used for tracking.
Shawn said that prior to his brother’s conviction, the two often trained with their weapons as part of the militia they created.
“We believe in fighting for our country, when it is time to fight,” said his father, Jeff.
Margaret said they were “preppers,” or people who were prepared for survival if civil society failed.
The family made no secret of its views. Until recently, a large American flag was flown over their home upside down, the sign of distress. Shawn has an American flag sewn on his camouflage shirt upside down, and the flag is similarly displayed on their vehicle.
Shawn said the upside down flag is their way of saying “things aren’t right in the country.”
Buford Rogers works as a welder with J & D Construction of Montevideo. His parents said he lives with his girlfriend and their 4-month-old son in a home in Montevideo, and that he was arrested there.
The FBI affidavit says Buford was present at the Rogers family trailer home when the search warrant was executed and describes the location as Buford’s residence. It makes no reference to where he was arrested.
An acquaintance of Buford Rogers was detained that day as well but not charged, the family says.
Jeff Rogers said his son had gotten in with the “wrong people,” and that is what led to his conviction in 2011 for burglary. However, he said his son was concerned about his son and girlfriend, and would not have done anything to jeopardize them.
Neighbors said they were “shocked” when an armored vehicle, SWAT team and police and federal agents arrived at the Rogers’ family home in the trailer park. While the signs and upside down flags are obvious to see, the Rogers family members otherwise “pretty much kept to themselves,” said Silvan Florez, who lives across from them.
Leslie Sack, who also lives across the street, said he was told to stay inside during much of the time that agents searched his neighbor’s property, a process that started after 11 a.m. Friday and continued to about 6:45 p.m. that day. He said he wasn’t frightened by the site of a SWAT team and bomb squad. “Not really. I was just so surprised,” said Sack.
Police Chief Christopher emphasized that the incident was not part of a larger threat, and said that Montevideo remains a very safe community.
The chief said Buford Rogers was known to law enforcement due to his involvement in the burglaries for which he was convicted. Police also received calls about his parents’ home in Northdale due to the upside down American flags. Police told those calling that there is no law against displaying the flag that way.