NEVADA (KTNV) — Authorities report three alleged members of the "Boogaloo" movement — a term used by extremists to signify a coming civil war/collapse of society — have been charged with violations of federal and state law for conspiracy to cause destruction during protests in Las Vegas.
The trio is also charged with possession of an unregistered destructive device - an improvised incendiary device such as a Molotov cocktail.
Authorities said Las Vegas residents Stephen T. Parshall, 35, Andrew Lynam, 23, and William L. Loomis, 40, were each charged in a federal criminal complaint. They face one count of conspiracy to damage and destroy by fire and explosive and one count of possession of unregistered firearms, that is, a destructive device.
Criminal instigators hijacking peaceful protests could face federal prosecution
If convicted of federal charges, Parshall, Lynam, and Loomis each face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy to damage and destroy by fire and explosives, and ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine for possession of unregistered firearms.
Parshall, Lynam, and Loomis were all arrested in Las Vegas on May 30, according to authorities, and are currently in state custody.
These charges were announced Wednesday by U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson, FBI Special Agent Aaron C. Rouse, and Sheriff Joseph Lombardo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
"Violent instigators have hijacked peaceful protests and demonstrations across the country, including Nevada, exploiting the real and legitimate outrage over Mr. Floyd's death for their own radical agendas," said U.S. Attorney Trutanich. "Law enforcement is focused on keeping violence and destruction from interfering with free public expression and threatening lives."
In addition to the federal charges listed above, the Clark County District Attorney's office has filed a state criminal complaint charging the defendants with one count to assist, solicit or conspire conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism; one count of providing material support for use in the commission of an act of terrorism; one count of conspiracy to damage or destroy a building by means of explosives; one count of possession of component of an explosive or incendiary device with intent to manufacture an explosive incendiary device.
"My office is committed to aggressively prosecuting those who make it their mission to create chaos and destruction with total disregard for the safety and well-being of our citizens and the law enforcement officers sworn to protect and serve our community," Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said. "This type of planning and intent on causing mayhem is terroristic and will not be tolerated. Thankfully, the Joint Terrorism Task Force is able to identify and stop such actions. Now it's my job to hold these men accountable."
Authorities say the charges stem from an investigation led by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in Las Vegas, which includes the FBI, LVMPD, ATF, North Las Vegas Police Department, and the U.S. National Park Service.
"This quick and decisive action by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force underscores the exceptional partnership and professionalism of our diverse membership. Federal, state, and local agencies committed to stopping acts of terrorism before they can occur," FBI Special Agent Aaron C. Rouse said. Citizens of Nevada can take comfort that the law enforcement partnerships in this state continue to work together every day to protect them no matter the circumstances."
As directed by Attorney General William P. Barr, law enforcement said it is using the existing network of 56 regional FBI JTTFs to identify and prosecute the violent criminal organizers and instigators who have taken over peaceful protests.
"The LVMPD worked together daily in the Joint Terrorism Task Force with the FBI, U.S. Attorney's Office, and Clark County District Attorney's Office in this investigation that helped protect Southern Nevada's citizens and officers from individuals looking to harm citizens for their own political ends," said LVMPD Captain Chris Tomaino.
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U.S. Attorney Nicholas D. Dickinson will be prosecuting the federal case, and Deputy District Attorney Michael Dickerson, the primary counter-terrorism prosecutor for the Clark County District Attorney's office, is pursuing the state's case.