MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A militia member indicted in what the FBI once characterized as a terror plot to blow up a Minnesota police station was sentenced Monday to three years and four months in prison.
Buford Rogers, 25, will receive credit for the year he's already spent in jail. Fifty law enforcement officers raided his parents' mobile home in Montevideo last May.
Rogers was sentenced after pleading guilty to one count of possessing a firearm illegally and one count of possessing an unregistered destructive device.
U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery said the case received an "inordinate amount of attention" for what turned out to be an ordinary weapons possession offense, the Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1flXAXr ) reported.
Authorities say Rogers and some family members belonged to the small, anti-government Black Snake Militia and that Rogers was plotting to blow up the Montevideo police station, raid a National Guard Armory and cut off communications to the city, about 95 miles west of Minneapolis.
Prosecutors wanted Rogers sentenced to more than five years in prison, arguing that he is a threat to public safety and noting the items were designed to hurt people. Assistant Federal Defender Andrew Mohring asked for two years or less. Mohring contended in a memorandum that federal authorities had exaggerated their claims about Rogers in the aftermath of last year's Boston Marathon bombing.
The judge began by pressing prosecutor Andrew Winter to assure her that there had been no plot or conspiracy. Winter conceded, though he disputed Mohring's description of the Black Snake Militia as a purely defensive group. Winter pointed out that Rogers had participated in practice shooting when he was prohibited from possessing weapons.
In imposing a sentence that she described as in between the terms recommended by the prosecution and defense, Montgomery said Rogers, who has a 2011 conviction for felony burglary and is not allowed to have a firearm, appeared not to have learned his lesson so it was important to deliver a message to stay away from guns.
"You can't be around anyone with firearms," she said. "You really have to make a change. . I hope we've got your attention now."