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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 30, 2020

Self-Proclaimed Boogaloo Bois Member Residing in San Antonio Arrested and Charged Federally with Illegally Possessing a Firearm

A self-proclaimed Boogaloo Bois member residing in San Antonio faces a federal firearms charge, announced U.S. Attorney Gregg N. Sofer and FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division.

A federal criminal complaint filed yesterday in San Antonio charges 21–year-old Cameron Emerson Casey Rankin with one count of being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm as a result of previously being committed to a mental institution.  FBI agents arrested Rankin Wednesday and recovered a black semi-automatic rifle during the execution of a search warrant at his residence. He remains in federal custody at this time.

According to the criminal complaint, Rankin was in unlawful possession of a firearm, with the capability and means to affect violence in furtherance of his beliefs and has expressed a desire to overthrow the government, specifically, the “three letter agencies” such as ATF, FBI and IRS. 

“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.  Thanks to the efforts of the local, state and federal law enforcement agencies assigned to the San Antonio FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) and the ATF, our community is safer today.  We will use the full breadth of federal firearms laws to ensure that prohibited persons do not possess or use guns in our neighborhoods,” stated U.S. Attorney Sofer.

The complaint states that 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 committed to a mental institution.

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 a firearm 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.” 

The complaint further alleges 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”.

On August 11, 2020, Rankin arrived at the airport in Manchester, New Hampshire.  He flew out of San Antonio International Airport the previous day. Rankin checked a semiautomatic handgun in his luggage while at the ticket counter, but missed a connecting flight in Philadelphia, PA.  Upon his arrival in Manchester, Rankin was met inside the terminal by ATF agents who served Rankin written notice that he is prohibited from possessing firearms.  The agents also provided him with copies of his mental health records.  Agents seized the handgun and ammunition from inside Rankin’s luggage.  Rankin threw the notice letter and mental health records in the trash receptacle before leaving the airport terminal.

“San Antonio FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, and each of the member agencies, are committed to working hard every day to keep our communities safe from violent extremists,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Combs.  “We encourage members of the public to help us with this important and challenging effort by continuing to report suspicious activity or suspected acts of violence.”

Upon conviction, Rankin faces up to ten years in federal prison.  Rankin is scheduled for a detention hearing at 10:00am on Wednesday, November 4, 2020, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard B. Farrer in San Antonio. 

The San Antonio FBI’s JTTF is conducting this investigation with assistance from the ATF.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys William R. Harris and Mark Roomberg are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

This case falls with 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 a criminal complaint 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.

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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.

Topic(s): 
Project Guardian
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Updated October 30, 2020