RICO & Terrorism

RICO & Terrorism

Arrests of Extremists and Terrorist Groups

Domestic terrorism in the United States by extremists and groups can result in harsh sentences for participants. Learn how the government views domestic terrorism including groups on a terrorist watch list.

Anyone who is known to be involved in an extremist organization, or who frequently associates with known members may run the risk of being investigated. In 2020, simply being involved in a "lawful demonstration" where terrorist groups also participate can cause you to be unjustly associated with their organization.

If you are believed to be part of, or working with, a domestic terrorist organization you could be arrested on federal charges. If arrested, because of the seriousness of the charges, you should immediately hire a competent federal crimes defense lawyer.

What is Domestic Terrorism?

Per Wikipedia, "Domestic terrorism in the United States consists of incidents confirmed as domestic terrorist acts. These attacks are considered domestic because these events happened within the United States. The events and attacks carried out include non US citizens, U.S. citizens and or U.S. permanent residents"1

The FBI defines domestic terrorism as violent, criminal acts committed by individuals and/or groups to further ideological goals stemming from domestic influences, such as those of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature.

The United States’ PATRIOT Act identifies problematic acts as being domestic terrorism when they:

  • (A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
  • (B) appear to be intended – (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
  • (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

The FBI – Chasing Extremists and Terror Groups

The FBI is the leading law enforcement agency that tracks and pursues terrorism threats. The FBI is involved in threats ranging from individuals with extremist beliefs to highly organized groups such as Antifa. Per the FBI website, "The threat of domestic terrorism also remains persistent overall, with actors crossing the line from exercising First Amendment-protected rights to committing crimes in furtherance of violent agendas. Many factors have contributed to the evolution of the terrorism threat on both the international and domestic fronts, such as:"

  • Lone Offenders: Terrorist threats have evolved from large-group conspiracies toward lone-offender attacks. These individuals often radicalize online and mobilize to violence quickly. Without a clear group affiliation or guidance, lone offenders are challenging to identify, investigate, and disrupt. The FBI relies on partnerships and tips from the public to identify and thwart these attacks.
  • The Internet and Social Media: International and domestic violent extremists have developed an extensive presence on the Internet through messaging platforms and online images, videos, and publications. These facilitate the groups’ ability to radicalize and recruit individuals who are receptive to extremist messaging. Social media has also allowed both international and domestic terrorists to gain unprecedented, virtual access to people living in the United States in an effort to enable homeland attacks. The Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS), in particular, encourage sympathizers to carry out simple attacks wherever they are located—or to travel to ISIS-held territory in Iraq and Syria and join its ranks as foreign fighters. This message has resonated with supporters in the United States and abroad.

Terrorism Charges in 2020

In 2020 there has been a huge spike in organized criminal conduct which may be prosecuted as terrorism. The federal government is moving to designate as terrorist groups several entities causing widespread violence and destruction in the United States. This specifically includes groups such as Antifa, Boogaloo Bois, and Black Lives Matter.

The federal government has already arrested hundreds of protestors who have committed numerous felonies in riots across the United States. A formal designation of &quot’terrorist group" would then instantly create a large number of people qualifying as terrorists. Per the website of RedState.com, "If Antifa is Designated A Terrorist Group, There Are A Lot Of Possible Charges Coming". The article goes on to state, "…celebrity calls to provide material support through bail donations began to look a lot different since providing material support to a named terrorist group violates federal laws such as the PATRIOT Act … The terrorist designation also makes prosecution under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) much easier … Under RICO, as Washington Examiner investigative journalist Kerry Picket notes, any group associated with Antifa can be charged. In fact, RICO allows individuals who support these groups to be charged right alongside members of the group who actually commit crimes on the ground. And RICO does something else: it can go after the property and money of those connected to these groups."3

Top Groups That Could Lead to Terrorist Arrests

There are a number of left-wing and right-wing movements (groups) that could soon be listed as terrorist organizations. If you are a part of one of these groups you could find yourself under investigation and in need of a federal crimes defense lawyer.

The following groups, and people directly and indirectly associated, can potentially become domestic terrorists with a single change in federal law. Per The Oklahoman, a recent riot in Oklahoma City resulted in numerous arrests with charges for terrorism, rioting, and assault. Among the people arrested there were confirmed ties to multiple radical groups. Per the article, "Several people were carrying flags that were identified as belonging to the following groups: Antifa, Soviet Union (communism), American Indian Movement, Anarcho-Communism (solid red), and the original Oklahoma flag … currently adopted by Oklahoma Socialists."4 The groups most likely to be assigned such a designation include::

  • Black Lives Matter
  • Boogaloo Bois
  • Open Society
  • Various financial backers of these groups and their members

If you have been arrested for, or are under investigation for, domestic terrorism you should call our law firm. Our defense lawyers are experienced in fighting federal prosecutions on a wide variety of charges.


  • 1 Various, "Domestic terrorism in the United States", June 12, 2016, Available from Wikipedia
  • 2 FBI Staff, "Terrorism", March 2, 2020, Available from FBI.gov Website
  • 3 Sarah Lee, "If Antifa is Designated A Terrorist Group, There Are A Lot Of Possible Charges Coming", May 31, 2020, Available from RedState
  • 4 Nolan Clay, "Some OKC protesters charged with terrorism, rioting, assault", June 27, 2020, Available from The Oklahoman
Jimmy Duncan
James Hobson is a marketing professional and author with 40 years of experience in sales, marketing, print and digital advertising. James is a frequent contributor to law firm and business blogs under the nom de plume Jimmy Duncan.