A 27-year-old man from Pueblo is facing federal charges after allegedly plotting with an undercover FBI agent to poison and bomb a synagogue in the Steel City.
Richard Holzer was taken into custody in El Paso County but has since been transferred, according to jail records. Holzer is accused of being a white supremacist and plotting to blow up the Temple Emanuel, which is the second-oldest synagogue in Colorado.
According to court documents released by the Department of Justice in Denver, Holzer had multiple Facebook accounts that he used to push white supremacist ideology. On one of those accounts, he was contacted by an undercover FBI agent posing as a woman who supports white supremacy in late September.
Over the course of a few days, Holzer told the agent that he hated Jewish people and made multiple threats against them. He then told the agent that he had contacted a cook in Pueblo known as the "Mexican Hitler" and paid him $70 to put arsenic in the water pipes at Temple Emanuel, according to court documents.
The agent asked Holzer to keep her in the loop about any activist events coming up, and on Oct. 3, Holzer messaged her saying, "I'm getting ready for RAHOWA [racial holy war.]"
Holzer then told the agent that he wanted to poison the synagogue again on Oct. 31 and invited her to join him. She said he should meet some of her friends in the middle of October, and he ended up meeting with an undercover agent in Colorado Springs.
According to the court documents, Holzer told the undercover agent about the previous poisoning at the synagogue and then said he wanted to "vandalize the place beyond repair," potentially using Molotov cocktails.
When the undercover agent brought up the use of explosives against the synagogue, Holzer said, "I want something that tells them they are not welcome in this town. Better get the f*** out, otherwise, people will die," according to the court documents. He also expressed an interest in using pipe bombs since Molotov cocktails wouldn't be enough.
On Nov. 1, an undercover agent picked Holzer up and drove him to a motel where two other undercover agents were waiting. At the hotel, Holzer was shown two pipe bombs and two bundles containing seven sticks of dynamite. Holzer said, "This is absolutely gorgeous." Holzer then said they should carry out the attack at 2:30 or 3 a.m.
Before the attack, Holzer was arrested and taken to a police station. He admitted to police that he planned to blow up the synagogue and referred to the plan as "my mountain." He said that he had not planned to hurt anyone, but that he would have gone through with the attack even if someone was inside.