Two Local Men Sentenced on Federal Explosives and Weapons Charges
St. Louis, MO – OLAJUWON DAVIS and BRANDON ORLANDO BALDWIN were each sentenced to 84 months in prison on charges of planning and conspiring to ignite explosive devices during the Ferguson protests and procuring firearms for convicted felons.
According to court documents, in August 2014, Olajuwon Davis, a member of the New Black Panther Party, became a frequent protester in Ferguson, Missouri. During the protests, Davis met a fellow protestor by the name of Brandon Orlando Baldwin, who was employed at Cabela’s Inc., Hazelwood, Missouri. Cabela’s is a federally-licensed firearms dealer. Davis and Baldwin began to discuss how they could help arm some of the individuals taking part in the Ferguson protests. Baldwin volunteered that he could use his position at Cabela’s, and thereafter, Davis related to several people that he could procure firearms for convicted felons through Baldwin at the Cabela’s store. In fact, three such purchases were made: one on October 22, 2014, and two on November 7, 2014.
By early to mid-November, Davis and Baldwin’s talk of procuring guns had shifted into acquiring bombs. The discussions included types of bombs, blast radius and cost. Public buildings, police vehicles and police were discussed as possible targets. Also mentioned as possible targets were the St. Louis County Prosecutor and the Ferguson Chief of Police. On November 12, 2014, an undercover informant showed the defendants a recording of a controlled explosion that would be produced by the type of pipe bomb the defendants were talking about purchasing. The defendants requested a delivery date of Friday November 21, 2014.
On Thursday evening November 20, the arranged sale of three bombs was scheduled for shortly after midnight in the early morning hours of Friday. The reason for the delay was so that one of the defendants would be able to withdraw an additional $150 from an ATM machine to complete the purchase price of $250 for the three pipe bombs. The parties then met at a prearranged location in Hazelwood where the exchange of money for the three would-be bombs took place. Immediately upon the exchange taking place, Davis and Baldwin were arrested.
Olajuwon Davis, St. Louis, pled guilty in June to one felony count each of conspiracy to damage or destroy a building, vehicle and other property by use of an explosive, conspiracy to make false written statements in connection with the purchase of firearms and the transfer of firearms to a felon and two felony counts of aiding and abetting in the making of false written statements in connection with a firearms purchase.
Brandon Orlando Baldwin, St. Louis, Missouri, pled guilty in June to one felony count each of conspiracy to damage or destroy a building, vehicle and other property by use of an explosive, conspiracy to make false written statements in connection with the purchase of firearms and the transfer of firearms to a felon and two felony counts of making false written statements in connection with a firearms purchase. Both defendants appeared today for sentencing before United States District Judge Henry Autrey.
United States Attorney Richard Callahan congratulated law enforcement for preventing what potentially could have been a major disaster. "The disruption of this plot, coming as it did on the eve of the expected Grand Jury announcement, undoubtedly saved lives. Luckily for all of us, we’ll never know just how many," he said.
"We are pleased both members of the New Black Panther Party, St. Louis Chapter admitted their guilt before the Court," said William P. Woods, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI St. Louis Division. "The ultimate satisfaction is that we prevented their violent acts during the Ferguson protests, which saved lives."
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, St Louis County Police Department and the St Louis Metropolitan Police Department.