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3 Plotted To Terrorize Vegas Protests  06/04 06:18

   

   LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Three Nevada men with ties to a loose movement of 
right-wing extremists advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government have been 
arrested on terrorism-related charges in what authorities say was a conspiracy 
to spark violence during recent protests in Las Vegas.

   Federal prosecutors say the three white men with U.S. military experience 
are accused of conspiring to carry out a plan that began in April in 
conjunction with protests to reopen businesses closed because of the 
coronavirus.

   More recently, they sought to capitalize on protests over the death of 
George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis after a white officer pressed 
his knee into his neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and 
pleading for air, prosecutors said.

   The three men were arrested Saturday on the way to a protest in downtown Las 
Vegas after filling gas cans at a parking lot and making Molotov cocktails in 
glass bottles, according to a copy of the criminal complaint obtained by The 
Associated Press.

   "People have a right to peacefully protest. These men are agitators and 
instigators. Their point was to hijack the protests into violence," Nicholas 
Trutanich, U.S. attorney in Nevada, told AP. He referred to what he called 
"real and legitimate outrage" over Floyd's death.

   The complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas on Wednesday said 
they self-identified as part of the "boogaloo" movement, which U.S. prosecutors 
said in the document is "a term used by extremists to signify coming civil war 
and/or fall of civilization."

   Stephen T. Parshall, 35, Andrew T. Lynam Jr., 23, and William L. Loomis, 40, 
were being held on $1 million bond each in the Clark County jail Wednesday, 
according to court records. Lynam is from suburban Henderson and the others are 
from Las Vegas.

   The complaint said Lynam is an Army reservist, with Parshall formerly 
enlisted in the Navy and Loomis formerly enlisted in the Air Force.

   Each currently faces two federal charges  conspiracy to damage and 
destroy by fire and explosive, and possession of unregistered firearms. In 
state court, they've been accused of felony conspiracy, terrorism and 
explosives possession. Trutanich said they'll be prosecuted in both 
jurisdictions.

   "This type of planning and intent on causing mayhem is terroristic and will 
not be tolerated," said Steve Wolfson, the district attorney in Las Vegas.

   Attorney Monti Levy, representing Loomis, declined to comment about the 
state case and did not immediately respond to a question about whether she'll 
represent Loomis in federal court.

   A deputy public defender representing Parshall declined to comment and an 
attorney appointed to represent Lynam did not immediately respond to messages.

   A confidential informant met Lynam and Parshall at an early April rally in 
Las Vegas calling for the reopening of the state's economy, the federal 
complaint said. The men were carrying firearms and Lynam said the group "was 
not for joking around and that it was for people who wanted to violently 
overthrow the United States government," according to the complaint.

   The informant said that during a May 27 meeting, Parshall and Loomis 
"discussed causing an incident to incite chaos and possibly a riot, in response 
to the death of a suspect," a reference to Floyd.

   Loomis stated he wanted to firebomb a power substation, according to the 
informant in the criminal complaint.

   But on May 28, Lynam instructed the group to observe the riots occurring 
nationwide and use that momentum as a driving force to possibly take action 
against a fee station at Lake Mead on federal land north of the Hoover Dam, on 
May 30. Other targets discussed included a U.S. Forest Service ranger station, 
the complaint said.

   The informant stated that Parshall and Loomis' "idea behind the explosion 
was to hopefully create civil unrest and rioting throughout Las Vegas."

   They wanted to use the momentum from riots occurring nationwide because of 
Floyd's death "to hopefully stir enough confusion and excitement, that others 
see the explosions and police presence and begin to riot in the streets out of 
anger," the complaint said.

   On May 28-29, FBI agents observed Parshall buy fireworks at a tribal travel 
plaza, and he indicated to the informant that he had glass bottles, rags and 
gasoline Molotov cocktails, the complaint said.

   On May 30, all three and the informant agreed to take part in the Black 
Lives Matter protest in downtown Las Vegas, the complaint said.

   The charges come as intelligence officials are warning that "violent 
opportunists" have been emboldened nationwide by attacks on law enforcement 
officials amid protests.

   In a Tuesday internal intelligence assessment, U.S. Department of Homeland 
Security officials warned "this could lead to an increase in potentially lethal 
engagements with law enforcement officials as violent opportunists increasingly 
infiltrate ongoing protest activity."

   AP obtained a copy of the document, which cites the shooting of a Las Vegas 
police officer during protests, and two other officers shooting a heavily armed 
man at a nearby federal courthouse.

   "Law enforcement officers continue to be the primary targets of firearm 
attacks, though several incidents last night involved violent opportunists 
shooting into crowds of protesters," the assessment states.

   The anti-government "boogaloo" movement is a loose network of gun 
enthusiasts who often express support for overthrowing the U.S. government. Its 
name, a reference to a 1984 movie sequel called "Breakin' 2: Electric 
Boogaloo," is a code word for a second civil war.

   The movement is rooted in online meme culture, but the coronavirus pandemic 
has become a catalyst for real-world activity. Many "boogaloo" followers have 
shown up at COVID-19 lockdown protests armed with rifles and wearing tactical 
vests over Hawaiian shirts and leis, a nod to the "big luau" derivation of the 
movement's name.

   While some "boogaloo" promoters insist they aren't genuinely advocating for 
violence, law-enforcement officials say they have foiled bombing and shooting 
plots by people who have connections to the movement or at least used its 
terminology.

 
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