11/18/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/18/2020 18:47
In San Antonio today, a federal grand jury indicted 21-year-old Cameron Emerson Casey Rankin, a self-proclaimed Boogaloo Bois member residing in San Antonio, on a charge of illegally possessing a firearm after previously being judicially committed to a mental institution, announced U.S. Attorney Gregg N. Sofer and FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division.
On October 28, 2020, FBI agents arrested Rankin at his residence where they recovered a black semi-automatic rifle during the execution of a search warrant. He remains in federal custody at this time.
'Firearms in the hands of prohibited persons present a real danger to the law abiding residents of our community. When illegal firearms possession is combined with mental illness and violent, extremist ideologies, we have a prescription for disaster,' stated U.S. Attorney Sofer.
'Today's indictment sends a message to those who would seek to bring violent chaos and mayhem to our communities, regardless of the ideology that motivates them,' said FBI Special Agent in Charge Combs. 'The FBI and our partners are committed to protecting the public from all violent criminals, including those who are affiliated with anti-government groups.'
According to court records, Rankin illegally possessed a firearm with the capability and means to affect violence in furtherance of his beliefs. Rankin has also expressed a desire to overthrow the government, specifically, the 'three letter agencies' such as ATF, FBI and IRS. Rankin attempted to purchase two long guns from a San Antonio retail outlet on March 23, 2018, but was denied the firearms transactions under the 'Prohibited Category' for previously being judicially committed to a mental institution.
Court records also allege that after being warned by agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) that he was a prohibited person, Rankin posted pictures of himself with a firearm on social media. On May 30, 2020, Rankin and others, carrying long guns and pistols, appeared at the Alamo in downtown San Antonio to attend a protest in reaction to the death of George Floyd. The next day, Rankin posted on his Facebook account photos of himself and others carrying firearms at the protest as well as comments about his disdain for police including, '…hope they burn the precinct down' and 'I'm BOOGALOO we hate police.'
Court records also reflect that on August 4, 2020, Rankin posted a 'selfie' photo on his Facebook timeline showing him holding a black, semi-automatic rifle in a vertical position against his shoulder with his finger on the trigger. Rankin posted other photos which included a quote, stating, 'Diligently Plotting to Take Over the World in order to Leave You Alone.'
Furthermore, on August 11, 2020, ATF agents served Rankin written notice at the Manchester, NH airport that he was prohibited from possessing firearms. The agents also provided him with copies of his mental health records. On that same day, agents seized a handgun and ammunition from inside Rankin's luggage. Rankin threw the notice letter and mental health records in the trash before leaving the airport terminal.
Upon conviction, Rankin faces up to ten years in federal prison.
U.S. Attorney Sofer commended the San Antonio FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force and the ATF for bringing Rankin to justice. Assistant U.S. Attorneys William R. Harris and Mark Roomberg are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
This case falls within the purview of the Attorney General's Task Force to Combat Violent Anti-Government Extremism. Launched in June 2020, the Task Force is dedicated to supporting the investigation and prosecution of any person or group who commits violence in the name of an anti-government ideology.
This case is also a part of Project Guardian, which is the Department of Justice's signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department's past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the ATF when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and, ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. Click here for more information about Project Guardian.
It is important to note that an indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.