Authorities thwarted what could have been a deadly domestic terror attack last week when they raided the home of a militia-linked Minnesota man, law enforcement sources told ABC News today.
Buford "Bucky" Rogers, 24, was arrested Friday after an army of federal, state and local officials raided his home and discovered a cache of weapons including a Romanian AK-M assault-style rifle, several Molotov cocktails and what investigators suspect to be pipe-bombs, court documents said.
Jeanne Cooney, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minneapolis, told ABC News this morning that authorities rushed to arrest Rogers to get him off the street before he could proceed with his plans for an attack.
"We just wanted to get enough to get an arrest warrant to put him away before the weekend," Cooney said. According to a statement from the FBI, the bureau believes the arrest potentially saved the lives of "several local residents."
Cooney declined to say what the target of the attack was, but Montevideo, Minn. Police Chief Adam Christopher told ABC News Rogers had started a group called the Black Snake Militia, an organization with anti-government tendencies. Two senior law enforcement sources told ABC News Rogers appears to be a "militia"-type suspect whose targets potentially included local authorities.
Law enforcement was tipped off to Rogers thanks to "concerned residents in the area," Cooney said.
Christopher told ABC News he was aware of the specific threats, but said he believed Rogers was "a minimal threat" to the general public.
Rogers' father, Jeff, told ABC News' affiliate KSTP denied the accusations made against his son.
"We are not out to blow up buildings... and none of this crap they are saying about us," he said. "We have never done a violent thing like that in our lives."
Jeff Rogers said he doesn't know anything about any pipe bombs, but he does have a "bunch of pipes" for plumbing.
Buford Rogers was convicted of felony burglary in 2011 and was restricted from possessing a firearm, authorities said. He also pleaded guilty to a charge of reckless use of a weapon in 2009, court documents show. Rogers was taken into custody Friday without incident.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's office said Rogers does not yet have an attorney.
Attorney Gregory Holmstrom, who represented Rogers in his 2011 burglary case, said he was "quite surprised" his former client had been arrested. Holmstrom said Rogers never displayed any anti-government or terrorist tendencies.
"I'm not aware of anything like that. There was nothing that would make him stand out as someone who was particularly belligerent or angry," Holmstrom said.
In the 2011 case, Rogers pleaded guilty to stealing two rifles and tools from a garage in an area near the South Dakota border.