Six California men, four of whom were identified as members of the “Sleeper Center” militia, were charged with colluding to thwart., Announced by the Ministry of Justice.
The indictment, which opened Thursday, alleges that the group coordinated its trip to Washington, DC, with the stated intention to “fight”, noting President Trump’s call to protest the outcome of the presidential election. .. Some defendants wore tactical equipment, and prosecutors said at least one had a knife while he was pushing the police line on the grounds of the Capitol.
The case is said to be the first conspiracy prosecution filed against members of the Sleeper Centers, an anti-government radical group. Defamation Prevention LeagueCompares today’s US government to British colonialism, derived from the inaccurate claim that only 3% of American settlers fought Britain during the American Revolutionary War.
They are the third militia or militia group cited in a conspiracy case related to the Capitol riots.Already, the federal prosecutorIn a single conspiracy case, 16 Oath Keepers suspects and 15 alleged members or affiliates of Proud Boys were indicted in four separate conspiracy cases. The Justice Department has previously charged at least four other mobs they said were affiliated with the Sleeper Center.
Defendants Alan Hostetter (56), Russell Taylor (40), Eric Warner (45), Felipe Antonio “Toni” Martinez (47), Derek Kinison (39), Ronald Mele, 51, was charged with crimes, including conspiracies that interfered with official proceedings. , Interfering with official procedures, and other illegal entry fees.
The indictment, first reported by Seamus Hughes, director of the George Washington University radicalism program, alleges that at least four members of the group discussed plans to bring guns and other weapons to Washington. However, illegal possession of dangerous weapons and knives on the premises of the Capitol.
Taylor is the director of the American Phoenix Project, a group founded in the spring of 2020 by current co-defendant Hostetter to protest government-mandated pandemic regulations.
Only one of the defendants, Warner, is alleged to have entered the Capitol building, while the other five have been accused of participating in the riots on the Upper West Terrace.Of the Capitol where officers have experienced some of the most brutal battles.
After the November presidential election, prosecutors allege that the hostetters used the American Phoenix Project Group to promote violence in response to the consequences. On November 27, 2020, the hostetter posted a video on the YouTube channel of the American Phoenix Project.The vote for President Trump at the time claimed to have been “stolen.” “Some of the highest level people need to be a model for one, two or three executions,” he said.
In December, group members began planning after Mr. Trump tweeted about plans for the January 6 rally and said he would “become wild.” Taylor posted a link to Mr. Trump’s tweet and asked the question, “Who is going?”
The evidence outlined in the indictment suggests that he went to Washington with the intention of targeting the Capitol. On December 29, Taylor posted on Telegram, an encrypted messaging app, “I personally want to be at the forefront and one of the first to break through the door!”
On January 1st, Taylor created a group on Telegram called the “California Patriots-DC Brigade.” All six defendants and more than 30 others joined.
In the chat, Taylor wrote, “Many of us have never met and we are all happy to be ready to fight.” He said the goal was to “organize a group of fighters to turn their backs on each other so that no one tramples on our rights.”
Taylor asks members of the group to see if they have previous military or law enforcement experience, and writes about body armor: “I think you have some weapons and plates.”
Prosecutors said the group would use Telegram and other online platforms to discuss travel plans, consider which weapons to bring, and establish a radio channel to coordinate while in the Capitol prior to the trip to Washington, DC. I said. In multiple online discussions, group members made veiled mentions of bringing weapons.
The hostetter sent a text message to Taylor that he was planning to travel to Washington, DC on December 31, asking if he could “hook up” with “give me a backpack” the day before.
“Oh, I need to pack it,” Taylor replied. “Does Alain bring a gun?”
Hostetter replied, “NO NEVER (Instagram now monitors all text messages … this is a public service announcement),” followed by three laughing emojis.
In a post on January 1, Kinison told the group that he would drive from California to DC. “Because the luggage is too heavy to fly.” He, Mele, and Martinez said they would bring “a lot of tools” such as medical kits, radios, multiple cans of bear spray, knives, flags, goggles, and helmets.
Group discussedCan be carried in Washington, DC, known for its rigorous gun method, Taylor suggested bringing a hatchet, bat, or a large metal flashlight.
“I don’t think most fixed blades can just be brought into government buildings,” Taylor said. “If we’re in a government building, it won’t be at the top of our list, but something will tell me.”
According to the indictment, the group also discussed bringing in guns, but no one was charged with a gun breach. Kinison asked other conspirators if he wanted to bring a “shot” and “another long iron.” Mele wrote to the group, “The shorter the better. I could keep mine under the seat. I’ll bring it. 18” barrel “.
The prosecution said Kinison had sent a selfie-style photo with a shotgun ammunition bandolier around his body, writing that he “had a bandolier.”
The group arrived in Washington, DC prior to the January 6 rally, and Taylor spoke at another rally in front of the US Supreme Court on January 5, as director of the American Phoenix Project.
According to the prosecutor, Taylor said in a speech: “I’m standing on the street with you against a communist coup that hijacks America, before allowing our freedom to be robbed of us.”
Around 11:30 pm that night, Taylor posted a photo to an encrypted messaging service with a khaki backpack, a black plate carrier vest, two hatches, a walkie-talkie radio, and a stun baton, according to the indictment. Shown. , Helmets, scarves, knives. He wrote, “I’m preparing for tomorrow.”
Prosecutors allege on January 6 that Taylor wore a body armor vest, put a knife in his vest pocket, and put a stumbaton in his backpack. In Mr. Trump’s speech in the morning, prosecutors said the hostetter and Taylor remained outside the safe area of the ellipse because they were carrying items that were not permitted by the Secret Service regulations.
Later that day, prosecutors said hostetters and Taylor, who still had knives, joined the riots on the lower floors of the Houses of Parliament’s West Terrace as they tried to push through a line of law enforcement officers. Taylor said, “Move the Americans forward!” He turned to the policeman a few feet away and said, “Last chance boy. Come back!”
Taylor and Hostetter then pushed past the officer into the Upper West Terrace, and Taylor shouted “Medium!” To the other mobs. Before moving towards the Capitol. Taylor later sent a text message to others saying that he “attacked the capital” but did not enter the building because he “had a weapon.”
At around 6:15 pm, Taylor posted in the telegram:
Later that night, someone sent Taylor a text message asking what would happen next. He replied, “Riot!”
“Three Par Centers” militia members allegedly charged with riot conspiracy in the new Parliament
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