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Document sheds new light on Montevideo terror case

By STEVE KARNOWSKI, Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Texas man tipped the FBI that a man he visited in western Minnesota was involved in far more than just an ordinary protest movement or militia group, according to a newly unsealed court document in the case against a defendant who was arrested in what the FBI once called a “terror plot” but was indicted only on weapons charges.

The search warrant affidavit from Special Agent Marc Rensch was made public Wednesday under an order late Tuesday from a federal magistrate judge, who granted a motion from the Star Tribune to unseal it and other filings in the case against 24-year-old Buford “Bucky” Rogers. It adds some details to what another FBI agent disclosed during a pretrial hearing Tuesday.

The informant, identified only as Witness 1, contacted the FBI after returning home to San Antonio. He told an agent on May 2 that he met Rogers at an “Arizona powwow” last fall or winter where Rogers overheard him speaking with another friend about their dissatisfaction with the government and the economy. Rogers joined in, “stating he hated the president and desired a return to the ‘cowboy days’ where everyone carried a gun,” the affidavit said. They decided to keep in touch.

Witness 1 later dropped out of college and took a bus to Minnesota to meet up with Rogers, staying at the mobile home outside Montevideo where Rogers lived with his parents. It eventually became clear to the witness “that the group was not just an ordinary protest group or militia movement,” Resnch wrote.

The witness said Rogers “talked regularly about his plans to use his ‘Black Snake Militia’ to cut off connections to the city of Montevideo, to ‘take out’ a radio tower, to block communications to the city, to raid the National Guard armory, and to attack the police station,” according to the document.

“At BUFORD's request, Witness 1 conducted a ‘recon’ of a nearby water reservoir,” it said.

The witness also told the FBI that Rogers and his father and brother considered themselves members of the militia movement and always carried weapons. He also said the defendant kept guns in his trailer and explosives in a storage shed outside, and possessed homemade napalm, Molotov cocktails and other incendiary material.

The Texas man also said he accompanied Rogers out to the country periodically to test pipe bombs and a time bomb made out of a plastic explosive.

But he told the FBI he became alarmed one Sunday or Monday when Rogers said he wanted to launch his attack the next weekend, the affidavit said. He said he told Rogers he would not join in because he “was not a killer.” He said Rogers replied that was OK and he didn't have to participate. But the witness’ girlfriend told him she later overheard Rogers telling others he “knew too much” so they had to “take him out,” the affidavit said.

He said they “snuck out” early the next morning, April 29, and returned to Texas.

Rogers was arrested May 3. While the FBI described it at the time as a terrorism case, a grand jury indicted him only on one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and three counts of possessing illegal explosive devices. He has pleaded not guilty.

Defense attorney Andrew Mohring declined to comment Wednesday. The Star Tribune reported that his father, Jeffrey Rogers, who is not charged, claimed at Tuesday's hearing the unnamed witness was “lying through his teeth.”

Other unsealed documents show Mohring is seeking a court order for the government to name the witness and make him available for an interview.