47ºF

New Braunfels man linked to white supremacists gets prison for child pornography

Benjamin Bogard's social media posts became subject of FBI investigation

A New Braunfels man who federal authorities thought may be planning a domestic terrorist attack was sentenced Monday to six years and eight months in prison for child pornography.

Benjamin Bogard, 20, pleaded guilty to the charge in May before he was sentenced Monday. Judge David Ezra ordered Bogard to three years of supervised release following his prison sentence.

Bogard was initially investigated by the FBI after an anonymous tip linked him to the Atomwaffen Divison, a white supremacist group, court transcripts obtained by KSAT.com showed.

The tip included an Instagram video posted by Bogard that shows him yelling an anti-Semitic slur while firing a shotgun in the woods. Bogard was wearing a skull mask in the video, which is often associated with members of neo-Nazi groups, including Atomwaffen Division.

When agents received consent from Bogard to search his phone, they found more troubling posts, including one asking where he can buy potassium perchlorate, a substance that can be used to make explosives or accelerants. 

FBI agents testified that Bogard searched for Dylann Roof, a white supremacist gunman who killed nine people in a South Carolina church. He also had internet searches referencing buildings to bomb and up to 25 searches on buying guns.

In a Snapchat video, Bogard told his followers to drive around looking for minorities to shoot.

"The only right they deserve is the right to lead," he said in the video, referring to an element used to make bullets.

Bogard told investigators that his behavior was for his online persona, according to court transcripts. He would say shocking things to get a bigger reaction and had no attack planned, Bogard told them.

Bogard was arrested in February once authorities discovered sexually explicit videos of children on his phone.


About the Author:

Fares Sabawi

Fares Sabawi has been a journalist in San Antonio for three years. He has covered several topics, but focuses on crime, courts and record requests the most. He also has a recurring appearance on KSAT News at 9's Trending Now segment.