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Feds charge business owner Ian Rogers of Napa with possessing five pipe bombs
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Criminal Justice

Feds charge business owner Ian Rogers of Napa with possessing five pipe bombs

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The U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco filed charges in federal court Tuesday against Ian Benjamin Rogers of Napa, saying he possessed five pipe bombs, classified as unregistered destruction devices.

The federal charges follow the filing last week of 28 felony counts against Rogers by the Napa County District Attorney’s Office in Napa Superior Court for possessing bombs and illegal firearms. The Napa County criminal complaint also included the five pipe bombs.

“We allege that Ian Benjamin Rogers possessed homemade pipe bombs and the materials to make more,” said U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson. “We draw a bright line between lawlessness and our constitutional freedoms. We will prosecute illegal weapons stockpiles regardless of the motivation of the offender.”

The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Napa County Sheriff’s Office, and the Napa Special Investigations Bureau discovered five pipe bombs and other explosive material during searches of Rogers’ business and Napa home on Jan. 15, said FBI Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair.

The criminal complaint alleges that Rogers, 43, had the five pipe bombs in a gun safe at British Auto Repair of the Napa Valley.

According to U.S. Attorney’s news release, officers identified other materials at the scene that could be used to manufacture destructive devices, including black powder, pipes, endcaps, and manuals, including The Anarchist Cookbook, U.S. Army Improvised Munitions Handbook, and Homemade C-4 A Recipe for Survival.

At least 49 guns were seized from Roger’s home and business along with thousands of rounds of ammunition, federal officials said. Officers and agents also discovered a sticker on Roger’s vehicle window that is commonly used by so-called “Three-Percenters,” people who ascribe to extreme anti-government, pro-gun beliefs, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Rogers was arraigned in Napa Superior Court Jan. 20 on state illegal firearm charges. Rogers is being held in the Napa County jail, with bail set at $5 million. He is set to enter a plea on the 28 state felony charges and contest the bail amount at a hearing Friday at 9:30 a.m. in Napa Superior Court.

Rogers’ defense attorney Jess Raphael had tried to have his client’s bail lowered on Jan. 20, saying Rogers was a gun collector with no criminal record and was not a flight risk.

“He has for 15 years been a very well-respected small business owner, father, and family man. He has been a positive, contributing member of the Napa community,” Raphael said in an email last week to the Register. “He does not belong to any organizations promoting or advocating violence. If he is a fan of Presidents Reagan and Trump, he is of the ranks of many tens of millions of Americans — almost exactly half of the United States.”

On Wednesday, Raphael said he couldn’t comment on the new federal charges, saying he has not yet been provided sufficient information by local prosecutors.

All he knows is that a “disgruntled former employee” who called himself “Mr. X” made the allegations that resulted in the raids on Rogers’ home and business, Raphael said.

Federal prosecutors said they intend to seek Rogers’ appearance in federal court on the new charges, but no date has been set.

Rogers’ federal charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Paul Gero, assistant Napa County District Attorney, said Wednesday that the current plan is to prosecute the state and federal charges concurrently. The local charges could result in a 30-year state prison terms, the DA’s Office has reported.

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