Texas Man Sentenced for Possessing Molotov Cocktails During Republican National Convention

Thu May 14, 2009 5:42pm EDT

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Texas Man Sentenced for Possessing Molotov Cocktails During Republican
National Convention

MINNEAPOLIS, May 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A 23-year-old man from Austin,
Texas, who was connected to a group that planned to disrupt the Republican
National Convention (RNC) in September 2008, was sentenced today in federal
court to possessing destructive devices. On May 14, in Minneapolis, U.S.
District Court Chief Judge Michael Davis sentenced Bradley Neal Crowder to 24
months in prison and three years of supervised release on one count of
possession of a destructive device.  Crowder was indicted on Sept. 22, 2008,
and pleaded guilty on Jan. 8, 2009.

"This case is part of a two-year effort with the U.S. Secret Service, along
with our state and local partners, to identify and address threats to the 2008
Republican National Convention," said Ralph Boelter, Special Agent in Charge
of the FBI's Minneapolis Field Office.  "Threatening life and property in the
name of a perceived cause is reprehensible regardless of the ideological
influence that motivates the attackers."

According to Crowder's plea agreement, he admitted that between Aug. 31 and
Sept. 3, 2008, he knowingly possessed and manufactured eight Molotov
cocktails, not registered to him or anyone else in the National Firearms
Registration and Transfer Record. 

Crowder was indicted along with a second defendant, David Guy McKay, 22,
Austin, Texas. Following a mistrial in February, McKay pleaded guilty to three
firearms charges on March 17, 2009, and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge
Davis on May 21, 2009.

According to trial testimony, the FBI in Texas began investigating the group,
labeled by law enforcement as the Austin Affinity Group, in February 2008. 
McKay and Crowder were members of the group.

On Aug. 28, 2008, Crowder and other members of the Austin Affinity Group
traveled from Austin, Texas, to Minnesota.  The group brought a rental trailer
with them that contained 35 riot shields, made from stolen traffic barrels. 
The intended use of the shields was to help demonstrators block streets near
the Xcel Energy Center in order to prevent convention delegates from safely
reaching the convention. St. Paul Police seized these shields on Aug. 31.

According to trial testimony, McKay and Crowder, angered by the loss of the
shields, purchased supplies for constructing Molotov cocktails at a St. Paul
Wal-Mart on Aug. 31, including a gas can, motor oil and tampons.  They also
purchased gasoline at a gas station.  They then manufactured the eight Molotov
cocktails at an apartment on Dayton Avenue where they were staying. 

During a FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation, authorities learned
through an informant that McKay and Crowder had manufactured the Molotov
cocktails.  Crowder was arrested on Sept. 1 for disorderly conduct during an
RNC demonstration.

During a conversation overheard by law enforcement through electronic
surveillance on Sept. 2, McKay told an informant that he intended to throw the
Molotov cocktails at police vehicles parked in a lot near the Dayton Avenue
apartment.  The parking lot was used as a checkpoint area for vehicles
entering the security perimeter around the convention site.  It was visibly
patrolled by the U.S. Secret Service, various police agencies and the
military.

During the execution of a search warrant by the St. Paul Police Department at
the Dayton Avenue residence where McKay was staying when he was arrested,
officers seized a variety of items, including gas masks, slingshots, helmets
and knee pads.  Under the kitchen sink, officers discovered a two-gallon
gasoline container identical to the one purchased by Crowder and McKay at the
Wal-Mart on Aug. 31.  In the basement of the residence, officers found eight
assembled Molotov cocktails.  They consisted of bottles filled with gasoline
with an attached wick made from tampons.

This case was the result of an investigation by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task
Force, which includes in addition to the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms and Explosives, the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office, the Secret
Service and the St. Paul Police Department.  It was prosecuted by Assistant
U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey S. Paulsen and W. Anders Folk.


SOURCE  U.S. Department of Justice

David Anderson for United States Attorney Frank J. Magill District of
Minnesota, +1-612-664-5684, Fax: +1-612-664-5787
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