FBI Investigating Antifa Plot to Buy Guns from Mexican Cartel for 'Armed Rebellion' at the Border
An ongoing investigation detailed in an unclassified FBI report warns of a plot by “anti-fascist activists” to buy guns from a Mexican cartel in order to “stage an armed rebellion” at the southern border, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
The militant antifa activists planned to "disrupt U.S. law enforcement and military security operations at the US/Mexican border,” according to a December 2018 document that went out to dozens of federal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and Mexico.
While "collecting dossiers on mostly American journalists, activists and lawyers in Tijuana involved with the migrant caravan," federal law enforcement officials discovered the alleged plot, which involved activists purchasing guns from a “Mexico-based cartel associate known as Cobra Commander,” or Ivan Riebeling.
The unclassified report was provided to the Union-Tribune on the condition the person providing it would not be named, and with the request that the entire document not be shared online because of the ongoing nature of the investigation.
Two additional law enforcement officials confirmed the investigation is ongoing, although no one has been charged. “Unclassified” means information can be released to people without a security clearance, but the document was also labeled “law enforcement sensitive,” which means it was intended to be seen only by those in law enforcement.
“This is an information report, not finally evaluated intelligence,” the six-page report states. “Receiving agencies are requested not to take action based on this raw reporting without prior coordination with the FBI.”
The FBI sent its report with “priority” to the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Drug Enforcement Agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Administration, among other agencies.
Two people named in the report, Ivan Riebeling and Evan Duke, said the accusations are untrue and illogical.
Duke said he never met Riebeling and that Riebeling was not someone he would have associated with.
Riebeling also said the accusations in the FBI’s report are illogical.
“It doesn’t make any sense that someone from the United States would purchase guns in Mexico. And the Hondurans certainly didn’t bring money to buy guns. It doesn’t make any sense; in fact it’s extremely absurd to say the Hondurans wanted to attack the United States at the border,” said Reibeling.
Riebeling has a long rap sheet in both the U.S. and Mexico.
The Baja Post reported that he's been arrested several times in Baja, California, and is "wanted in the United States for robbery and assault on construction company workers." Riebeling maintains a YouTube channel where he has apparently boasted of stealing tools from construction workers replacing the border wall. He was arrested again last year after refusing to obey a police officer during a traffic stop in Tijuana.
Riebeling also claims to be the president of the alleged "International Diplomatic Organization to Defend Human Rights," "which is not acknowledged by Mexico's Human Rights National Commissions," according to the Baja Post, so "it seems to be a lie."
According to Telemundo, "Riebeling has at least two criminal records for assaulting police officers in Mexico." The Spanish television network reported in March that they obtained a Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) "Hidden List" of trouble makers at the border and Riebeling was on it.
CBP compiled "lists of people it wanted to stop for questioning at the border," the Union-Tribune reported.
Agents questioned or arrested at least 21 of them, according to documents obtained by NBC San Diego. On that list, Reibeling is described as an “instigator,” and Duke’s name and picture is also included.
According to CBP, the list is made up of people who were present at the Tijuana border during clashes between the migrants and Border Patrol back in November and January, when agents deployed tear gas.
— What? Wake Up! (@whatwakeup) November 26, 2018
On New Year’s Eve, Reuters reported that "a group of U.S. activists opposed to President Donald Trump’s immigration policies helped migrants in Mexico during a clash with U.S. agents at the border." Duke is mentioned as a participant in the report, but claimed that the "activists had not transported migrants to the border or otherwise instigated the incident."
The agency said people were being questioned so that the agency could learn more about what started the altercations.
Several activists involved with the migrant caravan said the accusation that they would try to purchase weapons in Mexico is especially absurd, given that buying guns in the United States is easy and legal.
“Here I find the government again trying to tie me into some (stuff) I wasn’t involved in,” said Duke, a U.S. activist who is opposed to President Donald Trump’s immigration policies and whose work in Tijuana was monitored by federal authorities.
Evan K. Duke III is an antifa activist who was involved in the Dakota Access Pipeline protests that began in North Dakota in December 2016.
When a single photo explains it all. Remember #StandingRock ? Yes that is now presidential candidate @TulsiPress in a photo with the self-proclaimed ANTIFA leader Evan Duke who now leads the misinformation campaign from #Tijuana exploiting the migrants with their own fundraisers pic.twitter.com/Plw641Iz57
— B34NS (@B34NS) January 19, 2019
Duke also founded Abolish ICE and Occupy ICE to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to a KPPP-LP FM investigative report by Cindy Azucena Gomez-Schempp in early December of 2018.
Duke founded the group #Asylum Seekers: Caravan Support Network, "which promotes radical extremist views such as abolishing borders, regaining stolen indigenous land and achieving their goals 'by any means necessary' including the use of violence," the North Dakota radio station reported. According to the KPPP report, members of BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) are "active participants" in the Asylum Seekers group.
The "Asylum Seekers" group group has already gained more than 2000 followers (most of whom are were at the protest at Standing Rock and/or anti fascists) and promotes radical extremist views such as abolishing borders, regaining stolen indigenous land and achieving their goals “by any means necessary” including the use of violence.
In fact that phrase comes directly from the group BAMN or By Any Means Necessary. This group was linked to distributing BAMN flyers to the migrant caravan at the old, now condemned temporary shelter at the Benito Juarez sports center on November 30, on the day before Mexico’s new president AMLO took power, for an action to close the border the following day. Their goal was to demand the border crossing be opened and all caravan members to be allowed into the U.S. otherwise BAMN threatened the border would be shut down by protesters.
Duke reportedly organized in the Texas border area of Floresville, Texas, where he was involved with helping to set up a base camp with members of a Native American group "for a network of activists led by indigenous leaders that can support migrant caravans and indigenous tribes along the border of the United States."
From that base camp, they hoped to support more activism in cities like Laredo, McAllen, El Paso, Brownsville, and surrounding areas, according to the KPPP report.
In mid-November, the antifa organizer helped open a "safe house" in Tijuana to house activists from "the Border Support Network." On New Year's Eve, according to Reuters, Duke was involved with the clash between the migrants and Border Patrol.
Weeks earlier, KPPP FM reported:
The goal of these groups for the migrant caravan are to 1) raise money 2) misinform and agitate the caravan 3) put the mexican people and their authorities at odds with the caravan and 4) cause clashes, preferably violent ones with authorities on either side of the border to get media attention and create outrage amongst US and Latino audiences on both sides of the border. It is important to these groups that Americans begin to see Mexican authorities as oppressive and cruel to further their justification that the caravan must leave Mexico for their own security. This will also supposedly allow them to pressure Trump.
Duke told the Union-Tribune that "he believes it’s possible that authorities are acting upon information provided to law enforcement by right-wing conspiracy groups."
He said a North Dakota radio talk-show host bragged on the air about reporting him and his colleagues to law enforcement.
Duke was almost certainly referring to KPPP FM, which, according to its mission statement, seeks "to engage people of Color, disenfranchised communities, and others in the creation of a non-commercial, community-owned low-power FM (LPFM) radio station that will serve the Fargo-Moorhead community."
According to the Union-Tribune, "the FBI’s report says Duke was working with Riebeling and others not just to procure weapons, but to help set up camps to train activists to become 'community defense militias, also known as autodensas.'”
“Organizers planned for the camps to be used as staging platforms from which five person units would form to train anarchists in fighting, combat, and conducting reconnaissance, and then launch to disrupt U.S. government operations along the border,” the report states.