The FBI investigated "anti-fascist" activists who planned to buy weapons from a Mexican drug cartel in order to "stage an armed rebellion" and sow renewed chaos at the southern United States border amid the ongoing crisis there.
Documents obtained by the San Diego Union-Tribune revealed the alleged plot and the government's subsequent investigation.
What are the details?
The FBI document, dated December 2018, detailed an alleged plot where Antifa activists planned to buy weapons from an alleged Mexican cartel gunman, alias "Cobra Commander," in order to "stage an armed rebellion at the border" hoping to "disrupt U.S. law enforcement and military security operations at the US/Mexican border," according to the Union-Tribune.
The FBI learned of the plot while collecting intelligence on American journalists, lawyers, and activists working with migrants in the Tijuana region, a popular destination for migrants heading north from Central America.
The six-page document is an "information report, not finally evaluated intelligence," the Union-Tribune reported. However, the FBI forwarded the document, which it marked "priority," to numerous federal law enforcement agencies, including:
- Department of Homeland Security
- Central Intelligence Agency
- Drug Enforcement Agency
- National Security Council
- Customs and Border Protection
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Two people named in the report — Ivan Riebeling and Evan Duke — also allegedly plotted to establish camps in Mexico that would be used to train activists to become "community defense militias."
"Organizers planned for the camps to be used as staging platforms from which five person units would form to train anarchists in fighting, combat, and conducting reconnaissance, and then launch to disrupt U.S. government operations along the border," the report stated, according to the Union-Tribune.
However, both men denied involvement.
"Here I find the government again trying to tie me into some (stuff) I wasn't involved in," Duke told the Union-Tribune.
Meanwhile, Riebeling told the newspaper he once helped migrant caravans but later decided to attack them instead, calling them his "enemies." He also denied being associated with the Jalisco New Generation Cartel to which the FBI's report connected him.
"I am not cartel. I don't sell drugs. I don't sell arms," Riebeling said. "I'm a revolutionary. A man who believes in his ideals, and I'm going to defend Mexico.
"The government of the United States knows perfectly well that I am not a member of any cartel," he explained. "I have associates with several of the cartels, yes I do, but I am not a narco-trafficker and they know that."