David Reaboi with the Security Studies Group said it best on Twitter Tuesday morning:
If we had a media, this would be really big news. https://t.co/OfGkEXGytw
— David Reaboi (@davereaboi) April 30, 2019
The story, which, as Reaboi implies, is somewhat difficult to find outside this report from The Daily Caller, is a tale of violent protestors — Antifa — seeking ways to take their outrage to the next level by purchasing guns from a Mexican cartel and staging an armed protest at the southern border.
According to documents obtained by The Chicago Tribune and dating back to December 2018, “militant antifa activists [were] planning to ‘disrupt security operations’ at the U.S.-Mexico border. The group allegedly planned to buy guns from a Mexican cartel associate known as Cobra Commander, in order to ‘stage an armed rebellion at the border.'”
The source who provided it to the San Diego Tribune asked the outlet not to publish the six-page document because the investigation is ongoing, and the outlet cited two additional law enforcement officials who confirmed the news. The FBI has warned dozens of law enforcement agencies in both Mexico and the United States of the alleged plot.
Two of the men named in the report told the San Diego Tribune the allegations are absurd.
“It doesn’t make any sense that someone from the United States would purchase guns in Mexico,” Ivan Reibeling, the man known as Cobra Commander, told the outlet. “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.
While Mr. Cobra Commander is entitled to his narrative that it doesn’t make sense for Antifa members to purchase guns in Mexico, he’s quite obviously not familiar with Antifa’s antics over the last several years. Almost nothing they’ve done makes sense.
Additionally, the shift to the claim Honduran migrants may have been a part of the plan factors into what Task & Purpose’s report on the story (one of the only other outlets I could find covering it) says is explicitly contained in the FBI report: this is what federal agents were worried about when they began tracking the movements of, and compiling dossiers on, journalists and activists at the border.
When federal law enforcement officials last year began collecting dossiers on mostly American journalists, activists and lawyers in Tijuana involved with the migrant caravan, one part of their investigation focused on an alleged plot by a drug cartel to sell guns to protesters, according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation report.
A few names included in the FBI report overlap with names included in a secret database of people being monitored by Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security Investigations, originally reported by NBC San Diego and Telemundo 20.
In March, it was discovered that Customs and Border Protection had compiled lists of people it wanted to stop for questioning at the border. 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 [Evan] Duke’s name and picture is also included.
CBP said the names on the list are people who were present when violence broke out at the Tijuana border in November and January, when agents deployed tear gas.
The FBI report states that Reibeling and Duke — who claim not to have worked together — were procuring weapons, encouraging migrants to bring weapons with them to the border, and setting up training camps that would ultimately 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.
Reibeling, who has long rap sheets in both the US and Mexico, admits to having associates within Mexican cartel ranks, but denies being a cartel member himself. While Duke has expressed a dislike of Reibeling and said he was warned not to associate with him. Duke also said it’s possible federal authorities are acting on information provided to them from right-wing conspiracy groups.
However, a house Duke rented with other activists in Tijuana was said to be guarded by armed men.
Despite the protestations from Reibeling and Duke, the FBI apparently considered their report to be based on enough credible information to escalate it up the chain of command and share with other intelligence agencies. They sent it 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.