Updated June 10, 2020 - 9:41 pm
Two suspected members of the right-wing boogaloo movement were ordered detained in federal custody Wednesday on firearms and explosives charges in what authorities say was a plot to cause violence at Black Lives Matter protests.
Following initial hearings on the charges, U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Koppe concluded that both Stephen Parshall, 35, and William Loomis, 40, were dangers to the Las Vegas community.
The initial appearance for the third defendant in the federal case, Andrew Lynam, 23, was continued until Tuesday to give his lawyers more time to prepare.
All three men appeared in court through video conferencing from a federal detention center in Pahrump.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Dickinson sought detention for Parshall and Loomis, laying out details of the group’s alleged plans for violence to aid the extremist boogaloo agenda.
The boogaloo movement, which believes in an impending civil war and ultimate societal collapse, is decentralized, with no national leaders, and largely organizes and recruits on social media.
The Las Vegas trio was arrested May 30 after FBI agents uncovered the conspiracy, which also included plans to firebomb a power substation and damage federal buildings, Dickinson alleged.
Defense lawyers Robert Draskovich and Monti Jordana Levy, who represent Parshall and Loomis, respectively, argued against detention, saying their clients have strong ties to the community and are not violent people.
All of the defendants also face local terrorism charges.
Draskovich said late Wednesday that Clark County prosecutors notified him they might take the local case against the defendants to a grand jury. If indictments are returned before a June 17 preliminary hearing in Justice Court, there would be no need to conduct the hearing. The case would go directly to District Court for trial.
All three defendants, who have military backgrounds, were originally set to make their initial appearances in federal court on June 15, but the proceedings were moved up without explanation.
At a hearing in Justice Court on Tuesday, a judge refused to reduce Parshall’s $1 million bail in the local case, saying there was “overwhelming evidence against him.”
The defendants caught the attention of the FBI during rallies in April and May against the state’s COVID-19 business shutdown.
Their arrests were the first in the country of far-right extremists accused of planning to incite violence at the Black Lives Matter protests.
FBI agents learned that the defendants were planning to firebomb a NV Energy substation on May 28 to create unrest in Las Vegas, according to a federal complaint.
But the men instead sought to disrupt the Black Lives Matter protests, the complaint said. Agents arrested the three men before a May 30 demonstration downtown after they learned the men were prepared to toss Molotov cocktails at police, the complaint alleges.
Contact Jeff German at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4564. Follow @JGermanRJ on Twitter. German is a member of the Review-Journal’s investigative team, focusing on reporting that holds leaders and agencies accountable and exposes wrongdoing. Support our journalism.