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Montevideo man seeks release ahead of scheduled guilty plea in weapons case

MINNEAPOLIS — Two days before he is to plead guilty to charges he illegally possessed a bomb and a gun, Buford “Bucky” Rogers is asking a judge to be released from jail so he can return to his girlfriend and child.

An attorney for Rogers said the government’s early talk of domestic terrorism never panned out because it had come from an unreliable source — and that as such, there’s no reason to keep the man in jail.

“(H)is crime was simple possession of admittedly dangerous things,” Assistant Federal Public Defender Andrew Mohring wrote in a legal memorandum accompanying his motion for Rogers’ release.

Rogers, 25, of Montevideo, has been in custody since his arrest May 3. He is scheduled to plead guilty Friday to a single count of possessing an unregistered bomb and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

As part of the plea deal, the government will drop two other counts of bomb possession.

On May 3, with TV news cameras in tow, an FBI SWAT team in desert sand-camouflaged armored vehicles raided the Montevideo mobile home where Rogers’ parents and brother lived. Among the items seized were two Molotov cocktails, two black powder-and-nails bombs and a pipe bomb.

After the raid and Rogers’ arrest, the FBI said the man was part of the Black Snake Militia, and that Rogers had fomented plans to raid a National Guard Armory and blow up Montevideo’s police station and a radio tower.

As it turned out, the Black Snake Militia’s membership was limited to Rogers, his brother, his parents and perhaps one or two others. Neither Rogers, his parents nor anyone else was charged with domestic terrorism.

“At the time of Mr. Rogers’ arrest … federal and state law enforcement made an extensive set of allegations casting Mr. Rogers as a domestic terrorist,” Mohring said in his memo. He said the claims came from a single informant of “untested reliability.”

“Despite the implication that Buford Rogers was at the center of a conspiracy about to be unleashed, law enforcement never sought to search his actual place of residence, conceding that they lacked even probable cause to suspect that evidence of crime might be found there,” Mohring wrote.

“In the end, no additional evidence has been identified to confirm the existence of any plot to attack anyone or anything,” the lawyer wrote. “This was not the result of a lack of resources or effort.”

The Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.

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