Two men, who were charged Friday on gun charges, were also caught trying to purchase explosives to make pipe bombs, which they intended to detonate during expected protests in Ferguson, Missouri, following the decision of the grand jury considering charges against officer Darren Wilson, NBC News is reporting.
An unnamed official familiar with the case, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Brandon Orlando Baldwin and Olajuwon Davis were targeted for surveillance by the FBI after an informant alerted the authorities to their plans. They were not immediately arrested, because the FBI wanted to know what they were up to.
“We wanted to see where this might go.”
Reuters reports that the men were suspected of trying to acquire materials to create pipe bombs, which they intended to detonate during demonstrations in Ferguson. Ferguson, as well as other cities across the country, is preparing for demonstrations — including possible violence and riots — after the grand jury decision is made public, especially if the jury decides not to indict.
The men were arrested after allegedly giving false statements while trying to purchase guns at a sporting goods store in Hazelwood, Missouri. As of this post, they are only facing firearms charges, but charges related to the Ferguson bomb plot are expected to come soon.
The two men, who have reported ties to the New Black Panther Party, are considered to be acting alone and are not part of a larger movement, according to the unnamed law enforcement official. They never posed a very serious threat.
The New Black Panther Party, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, purports to be a modern version of the Black Panther Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, although the original movement’s leaders reject the party as “a black racist hate group.”
“The New Black Panther Party is a virulently racist and anti-Semitic organization whose leaders have encouraged violence against whites, Jews and law enforcement officers. Founded in Dallas, the group today is especially active on the East Coast, from Boston to Jacksonville, Fla. The group portrays itself as a militant, modern-day expression of the black power movement (it frequently engages in armed protests of alleged police brutality and the like).”
As of this post, it is unclear how much bomb-making material the men had acquired, or if they had any completed pipe bombs ready for detonation in Ferguson.