The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

January 7, 2014

Man expected to plead guilty in weapons case

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota militia member who faces weapons charges in what the FBI once called a "terror plot" to blow up a police station is expected to plead guilty, according to a Tuesday update to a federal court calendar.

Buford Braden Rogers, 25, of Montevideo was scheduled to go on trial next week on four counts, including charges related to possessing Molotov cocktails, two "black powder nail devices" and a pipe bomb. Instead, a change of plea hearing is now set for Friday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.

Rogers is not charged with terrorism. A message left with his attorney was not immediately returned.

Authorities say Rogers was part of a tiny anti-government militia plotting to blow up the Montevideo police station, raid a National Guard Armory and take out a radio tower to block communications to the city, about 95 miles west of Minneapolis. At the time of his arrest, FBI officials said they believed they stopped a terrorist attack in its planning stages.

According to a redacted transcript of a May 3 interview with the FBI, Rogers told agents he was not violent and didn't know of anyone planning an attack. He also said he was using the Internet to try to investigate groups he considered to be dangerous, and that he formed his militia to "do good, not harm people," the transcript said.

"I'm not a bomb guy," he said, but he talked of making bombs and admitted owning some bomb-making materials, according to the transcript.

Rogers' father, Jeff Rogers, has said publicly that his son has done nothing wrong and was targeted because he is outspoken about his beliefs.

Police say Rogers and his family started a small, local anti-government militia group called the Black Snake Militia, and Buford Rogers had posted anti-government comments on social media. According to a search warrant affidavit, a witness told the FBI last spring that Rogers was involved in more than an ordinary protest movement or militia group, and planned to launch an attack.

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