Charges: St. Cloud 'Boogaloo Bois' member planned attack on St. Paul Capitol

Andy Mannix, Star Tribune
·4 min read

Federal agents in Minnesota have arrested a St. Cloud man who claims allegiance to anti-government Boogaloo Bois and plotted a violent attack on the Minnesota Capitol earlier this year, according to charges unsealed in Minnesota U.S. District Court on Wednesday.

Last December, Michael Paul Dahlager, 27, traveled to a "Stop the Steal" rally at the St. Paul Capitol to scout and take video of law enforcement numbers, tactical positions for the Boogaloo Bois and streets that were being blocked off, according to the criminal complaint. He told a confidential informant, who recorded the conversation for the FBI, he was conducting reconnaissance for an attack on Jan. 17. Rallies to protest President Joe Biden's election were planned for that date by a non-violent group of Donald Trump supporters.

After the assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, Minnesota erected a fence around the Capitol building in St. Paul, and hundreds of state police officers — which Dahlager called an "army" — stood guard on the perimeter in response to threats of more attacks.

"If it comes down to having a better world for my kids, I'm 100% gonna die for my country," Dahlager told the informant. "The state's standing army that we were warned about is at the Capitol."

Dahlager later abandoned the plan when he believed an informant had infiltrated the group.

Dahlager made his first appearance in court Wednesday on federal charges of illegally possessing a machine gun. Dahlager had a 3D-printed "drop in auto sear" — a device that turns a semiautomatic into a machine gun — according to charges. He was arrested Wednesday morning, and will be held in custody until a formal detention hearing on Friday.

Dahlager is a self-described member of the Boogaloo Bois, the loose-knit organization that espouses anti-government — and especially anti-police — sentiment and is dedicated to exploiting chaos and starting the next American civil war, according to charges.

Last November, a confidential informant told authorities Dahlager had discussed "his willingness to kill law enforcement," according to charges. Dahlager showed the informant his arsenal, which included tactical body armor, an AR-15 and a device to suppress the sound of a gun. He told the informant that his "house has port holes to make a stand if law enforcement confronts him at his home."

In planning the Jan. 17 attack, with the informant and an unnamed Boogaloo member present, as they watched the video footage he'd captured from the Capitol, Dahlager said: "Right to our right over here is where the [unintelligible] snipers are," according to the criminal complaint.

"So we blow that building first?" the other Boogaloo member asked.

"Yup," said Dahlager, later saying he has trouble with "impulse behavior control," according to the complaint.

As Jan. 17 approached, the Boogaloo members began to fear they had an informant in their midst. Five days before the planned attack, Dahlager and others met in Rogers, Minn. and discussed the possibility that their group had been compromised, due to the publication of a law enforcement bulletin highlighting the FBI's interest in the Boogaloo Bois. Dalhager told the others they "should not attend the rally in St. Paul on January 17 and that the group should in the meantime focus on tactical training and recruiting new members into the movement," according to the complaint.

On Feb. 3, Dahlager gave the informant two auto sears, which he said could last 10,000 rounds, according to the complaint.

He later discussed the possibility of suicide by cop, according to the complaint. "That's the way I'd go out if were to go and do it," he said. "I wouldn't shoot myself, man. I'd go out fighting ... Go hunt some pig."

Several other Boogaloo have been charged in Minnesota over the past 10 months.

Ivan Harrison Hunter, the self-proclaimed leader of the South Texas Boogaloo, is accused of firing an AK-47-style rifle 13 times into the burning Minneapolis Third Precinct headquarters while people were inside. Michael Robert Solomon and Benjamin Ryan Teeter were charged last year with attempting to sell auto sears to Hamas. Teeter pleaded guilty in December.

Andy Mannix • 612-673-4036