The FBI has arrested two suspected members of the far-right anti-government group the Boogaloo Boys, as authorities express growing concern about the potential for violence around the US midterm elections next week.
Timothy Teagan was scheduled to appear in federal court in Detroit on Wednesday where charges against him would be dropped, an FBI spokesperson said.
In a criminal complaint filed Monday, the FBI said there was enough evidence to charge Aron McKillips, of Sandusky, Ohio, with unlawful possession of a machine gun and communicating interstate threats. The complaint stated that McKillips was a member of the Boogaloo Boys and allegedly belonged to a militia group called the Sons of Liberty.
McKillips attorney Neil McElroy said he had requested McKillips’ release pending a Nov. 9 detention hearing in Toledo.
Teagan’s arrest on Tuesday came a week before Election Day. Election workers have been the target of threats and harassment since the 2020 election, which Donald Trump refused to admit losing.
Federal authorities have already charged at least five people this year. Election officials are concerned that conspiracy theorists are signing up to work as poll watchers. Some groups that have trafficked in lies about the 2020 elections are recruiting and training observers.
On Tuesday in Phoenix, a federal judge agreed to put limits on a group monitoring outdoor ballot boxes in Arizona.
U.S. District Court Judge Michael Liburdi said he would issue a temporary restraining order against Clean Elections USA as well as the Liberty Lions and Yavapai County Readiness Team, which are associated with the group far-right anti-government Oath Keepers.
These groups or anyone working with them will be prohibited from filming or following anyone within 23 meters (75 feet) of a ballot box or the entrance to a building that houses one. They cannot talk or yell at people in this perimeter unless they talk to them first. This is the standard distance maintained around polling places under Arizona law, but it has generally never applied to drop boxes.
The order also prohibited members of the groups or agents working on their behalf from carrying firearms or wearing body armor within 250 feet (76 meters) of a drop box.
In Michigan, Teagan was among a dozen people who openly carried guns during a January 2021 protest outside the state capitol in Lansing. Some have promoted the “boogaloo” movement, a slang term that refers to a second American Civil War.
Teagan told reporters the purpose of the protest was “to urge a message of peace and unity left and right, to members of [Black Lives Matter]to Trump supporters to Three Percenter militias to antifa”.
Some boogaloo promoters insist that they don’t actually advocate violence. But the move has been linked to domestic terrorism plots.
In the criminal complaint against McKillips, the FBI alleges he made online threats, including one to kill a police officer and another to kill anyone it determined to be a federal informant. The FBI also maintains that McKillips provided equipment to convert rifles into machine guns.
“I literally handed out machine guns in Michigan,” McKillips said in a recording, the complaint states.
In September 2021 he said in a private chat group: “I don’t have a fed badge on a corpse yet so my time here isn’t over yet lol.”
In May of this year, McKillips and another user of the Signal messaging system threatened to kill another user, believing the person to be an FBI or Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives informant, the complaint says.
In July, McKillips threatened in a Signal group to “smoke a pig,” that is, kill a police officer, if conditions worsened following a fatal shooting by police in Akron, says -he.
McKillips has frequently advocated violence against police officers, federal agents, government buildings, and stores like Walmart and Target, and even threatened to blow up Facebook’s corporate headquarters, the complaint says.