The FBI is reportedly looking into allegations that a self-proclaimed anti-fascists movement was involved in trying to “stage an armed rebellion at the border” in December.
The staged scenario, the Washington Examiner reports, was reportedly being coordinated by two individuals who were trying to get migrant caravan members to purchase weapons from Mexican cartel members. The scheme was reportedly “planned to disrupt U.S. law enforcement and military security operations at the US/Mexican border.”
The activists are accused of seeking to purchase guns from a “Mexico-based cartel associate known as Cobra Commander,” according to a December FBI document obtained by the San Diego Union-Tribune.
The FBI report was issued to agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Administration, and others.
But so-called Cobra Commander Ivan Riebeling and Evan Duke — both individuals named in the FBI — denied the accusations and said the plot didn’t make sense.
“It doesn’t make any sense that someone in the United States would purchase guns in Mexico,” Riebeling told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “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.”
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, law enforcement officials have not yet charged anyone but are continuing to carry out the investigation.
Here’s more on 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.
And, on Ivan Riebeling and Evan Duke:
Duke said Riebeling was not someone he would have associated with because he didn’t trust him and because Riebeling had expressed negative views in social media videos about the migrants in the caravan.
“We were warned to look out for him,” said Duke. “We took the precaution to find out who he was and where he was, but we never had any contact with him. And we never saw him around the migrant caravan.”
Riebeling said he was originally helping an earlier caravan of mostly women and children who arrived in Tijuana, but he quickly decided he “no longer wanted to help Hondurans.”
“I can send you several videos of myself attacking the Hondurans because they are my enemies,” Riebeling said during a recent interview.
Reibeling said he was never detained or interrogated by the FBI about his involvement with the migrant caravan. He said he took no part in trying to sell guns to anyone and that he’s not a cartel member.
“I am not cartel. I don’t sell drugs. I don’t sell arms,” said Riebeling. “I’m a revolutionary. A man who believes in his ideals, and I’m going to defend Mexico.”
The unclassified FBI report identifies Riebeling as being “associated with the Jalisco New Generation Cartel,” but Riebeling, a Tijuana resident, said he is not.