WASHINGTON, Sept. 3, 2008— -- The FBI has arrested a 23-year-old Michigan man who allegedly wanted to make a chemical bomb and attempted to disrupt the Republican National Convention by making Molotov cocktails.
According to a criminal complaint against Matthew Bradley DePalma unsealed today, DePalma allegedly told an FBI informant about his desire to "make some bombs" in order to cancel the convention.
The FBI learned about DePalma's alleged intentions after the informant, who was in communication with an FBI special agent, met DePalma at a July meeting called CrimethInc. Convergence. The gathering included members of the Republican National Convention Welcoming Committee, an anarchist group described on its Web site as "an anarchist/anti-authoritarian organizing body."
Court documents in the case indicate the FBI closely watched DePalma after he allegedly intended to undertake acts of violence. According to the documents, he allegedly stated his desire to attack police, saying, "I will light one of those pigs on fire."
The federal public defenders office, which is representing DePalma, declined to comment on the matter.
DePalma, who was arrested Saturday on one count of possession of firearms that were not registered to him, could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
According to court records, the FBI informant learned that DePalma, of Flint, Mich., had traveled to Minneapolis and arranged to stay with the informant. With the informant's consent, the FBI rigged the informant's apartment with audio and video surveillance.
"DePalma expressed his desire to build a chemical bomb that he could use to cause a power outage at the Xcel Center… DePalma stated that the [informant's] apartment would be a good place to make the bomb," the FBI affidavit in the case said.
According to the affidavit, DePalma allegedly obtained the supplies needed for Molotov cocktails on Aug. 21. The next day, "DePalma stated that, if he can bomb the Xcel center on Sept. 1, 'they might call it off' referring to the convention. He added that 'a power outage would say a lot' and 'that is my main purpose.' Alternatively, DePalma stated that he would like to bomb the Xcel center on Sept. 4 so that the convention would 'end with a bang,'" according to the affidavit.
On Aug. 22, "DePalma manufactured two jugs of a homemade napalmlike substance for use in Molotov cocktails," the court records allege.
On Aug. 25, after DePalma allegedly tried to obtain chemicals for a bomb, police in Roseville, Minn., arrested him on trespassing charges, but later released him because the charge is minor.
Three days later, DePalma allegedly told the FBI informant he had not abandoned his plans to make the Molotov cocktails or the chemical bomb and constructed three Molotov cocktails made of gasoline and wicks.
According to federal law enforcement officials, DePalma was believed to have been intent on acting on his own, but was inexperienced. The court records said his alleged first attempt to make a Molotov cocktail failed. According to the documents, "the glass broke but the liquid did not ignite.'" DePalma allegedly told the informant, "That can't happen in the streets, dude."
About 300 people have been arrested during protests in Minneapolis at St. Paul; 11 were arrested tonight after rioters and anarchists attempted to merge with a group of peaceful protesters.
"Last night the one episode that I think probably caught a lot of media attention was, at the end of the poor people's march, when a group of rioters had decided that rather than going to ... where the majority of the protesters -- the legitimate protesters had gone to have their voices heard -- that they would try and break off and have what were called 'black block tactics,'" St. Paul Police Department Chief John Harrington said.