Alleged member of extremist group indicted on weapons charge

Men wearing military fatigues and carrying guns
Members of the “boogaloo boys” join other gun rights advocates in front of the State House as pro-gun supporters gather in Richmond, Va., on Jan. 18, 2021.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

In the garage of a Murrieta house last fall, Matthew Chen opened a PowerPoint presentation on his computer for a group of men.

A caption on the screen was a vulgar insult directed at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives. The first slide read, “Everything you are not supposed to know about suppressors.”

The gathering was a meeting of the Cali Bois, a group associated with the “boogaloo” movement — a loose collection of extremists who espouse the violent overthrow of the U.S. government.


Chen also had with him that night silencers that dampen the sound guns make when fired. As the meeting concluded, he allegedly sold one of the devices to an undercover FBI agent posing as a group member for $400. A few months later, he sold the agent other accessories that convert handguns into fully automatic weapons, according to court records.

Chen was arrested late last month and indicted on Feb. 4 in Los Angeles on charges of illegal firearm possession. Chen could not be reached for comment. He is currently free on a $120,000 bond.

He is at least the seventh person with alleged ties to the boogaloo movement to be charged in California. In 2020, one of the men fatally shot a security guard outside a federal government building in Oakland and then killed a Santa Cruz County sheriff’s deputy to avoid being captured, according to an affidavit written by an FBI special agent. The agent alleged the boogaloo movement was the driving force behind a shooting at a Dallas courthouse in 2019, in which the gunman was killed by federal security guards.

Chen, who used the moniker “Dolphin” when communicating with other boogaloo members online, is the latest person to be charged in what appears to be a broad, ongoing effort by federal authorities to crack down on the Cali Bois.

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Federal authorities declined to identify other people at the October 2021 meeting or say whether any of them have been indicted. But court documents indicate investigators are aware of the people’s identities and online nicknames.

The undercover FBI agent who infiltrated the group was part of an online message group that also included Chen, according to the affidavit. In December, Chen revealed to the group that he had bought six auto sears — the devices that make handguns automatic weapons — and was willing to sell them, the affidavit shows. He also offered to arrange for interested buyers to go on a desert outing to fire weapons and see how the devices work.


Then, on Jan. 20, Chen met with the undercover FBI agent in a Pomona park parking lot and sold him an auto sear for $250, according to the affidavit. Chen invited the agent to his Pomona apartment, where he showed a video of him shooting fully automatic weapons in the desert.

“Chen then returned to the kitchen with a rifle slung around his neck and carrying a Glock semi-automatic handgun. The handgun had a removable stock. The rifle had a removable silencer,” the affidavit stated.

“Chen provided the (undercover FBI agent) with instructions regarding how to install an auto sear on the Glock handgun, and demonstrated how…the handgun would operate as a fully automatic firearm.”

Following his arrest, Chen was released after his father put up $100,000 cash plus a $20,000 surety bond. A magistrate allowed his release on the condition that he surrender his passports and wear an ankle monitor that U.S. Marshals use to track his whereabouts. The magistrate also ordered Chen to undergo a mental health evaluation.

In a court document, an FBI agent described Chen as a flight risk because he has dual citizenship, but did not say what country issued his second passport.

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Chen’s indictment comes as Steven Carrillo, 33, is expected to change his plea in the killing of David Patrick Underwood, who was shot on May 29, 2020, while he stood in a guard shack in front of a federal government building in Oakland. Carrillo is accused of fatally shooting Underwood from a van after planning the attack with another man, Robert Alvin Justus Jr.


A week after the shooting in Oakland, Carrillo allegedly ambushed sheriff’s deputies in Santa Cruz County, who responded to a report of a van containing firearms and bomb-making materials, according to court records. Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, 38, was killed, and several other law enforcement officials were wounded.

Carrillo was allegedly part of the Grizzly Scouts group, a Northern California militia, also associated with the boogaloo movement. A federal indictment unsealed last April alleged four other group members obstructed justice after he told them via a secured messaging app that he had killed a federal officer. He warned them that he was about to engage Santa Cruz sheriff’s deputies in a gun battle during which he would kill another law enforcement officer.