Benjamin Thomas Samuel McDowell, 29, of Conway, is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to federal court records.
McDowell will go before a judge Tuesday afternoon at the John L. McMillan Federal Building in Florence for a preliminary hearing and a detention hearing, according to court records. He’s housed in the Florence County Detention Center and has been appointed a public defender.
A federal complaint alleges McDowell corresponded with the undercover agent about buying a firearm to carry out an attack similar to that of Roof, who was sentenced to death last month for the execution-style killings of nine African-American worshipers at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in 2015.
One neighbor, Sammi Charbonne, said she only noticed McDowell becoming vocal about his white supremacist views within the past year. Charbonne said McDowell also had anger issues and battled depression and substance abuse.
Agents say McDowell voiced anger toward Jewish people and praised Roof, and that he was radicalized by white supremacy extremists while serving time in prison.
McDowell’s mother said he also expressed anger toward African-Americans and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Sun News of Myrtle Beach contributed to this report.