Documents: 2 held in Vegas, Idaho man went to Capitol riot
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Nevada man and a Tennessee man who were arrested in Las Vegas and accused of violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 have ties to an Idaho man who surrendered for arrest earlier this month, according to court documents.
Nathan J. DeGrave and Ronald L. Sandlin were in federal custody Friday pending an initial court appearance, scheduled Monday before a U.S. magistrate judge in Las Vegas, jail records and officials said.
Sandlin is allegedly seen on video fighting with police and apparently smoking a marijuana cigarette inside the Capitol Rotunda. DeGrave is accused of pushing officers.
Prosecutors link them with Josiah Colt, 34, an Idaho man who turned himself in to sheriff’s deputies Jan. 12 in Boise.
Sandra Breault, FBI spokeswoman in Las Vegas, confirmed the that DeGrave and Sandlin, both 31, were arrested Thursday in Las Vegas.
Sandlin lives near Memphis, Tennessee, and was arrested outside DeGrave’s apartment, according to court documents.
Court filings allege that Sandlin organized what he is quoted as calling “a caravan of patriots who are going to Washington, D.C., to stand behind our president Donald J. Trump.”
The three men are accused of joining hundreds of people who, following a speech by Trump, stormed the Capitol — disrupting a final count by the House and Senate of electoral votes and the declaration that Joe Biden won the presidential election.
Five people died in the rioting, including a Capitol police officer. More than 130 people around the U.S. have since been identified and arrested on charges stemming from the violence.
Documents unsealed in U.S. District Court in Washington show that Sandlin and DeGrave each face charges of obstructing law enforcement officers during civil disorder, unlawful entry on restricted grounds and violence and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Records did not immediately reflect if they have attorneys.
Colt is accused of boasting on the internet that he had been inside the Capitol during the riot, and photos in court documents show him sitting in a Senate chair normally used by Vice President Mike Pence.
Colt later told a Boise television station he was sorry for his actions.
He was released after his arraignment in Boise pending a court appearance in Washington at a date yet to be set on charges of unlawful entry on restricted grounds and violence and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
DeGrave and Sandlin are seen in photos in court filings among flag-waving Trump supporters inside the Capitol, and documents cite internet posts attributed to Sandlin soliciting money to make the trip.
“Josiah Colt, Nate DeGrave and myself have already booked and paid for our trip to Washington, D.C.,” Sandlin is quoted saying in a Dec. 31 post, “but we could use your help!”
“I’m going to be there to show support for our president and to do my part to stop the steal and stand behind Trump when he decides to cross the rubicon,” he is quoted saying in a Dec. 23 post.
The crossing of the Rubicon River in Italy in 49 BC is considered the first act of Julius Caesar’s rise to emperor of Rome.
Sandlin and a person identified as DeGrave, seen wearing black tactical gear, are described in unsealed charging documents as shoving Capitol police officers during physical confrontations in the building. Sandlin is described as trying to wrest the helmet off an officer.
Sandlin, wearing distinctive eyeglasses and an orange sweatshirt, is shown in a video-photo image apparently smoking a marijuana cigarette inside the Capitol Rotunda. He also is seen on video inside the U.S. Senate gallery and is quoted in another clip declaring, “we breached the building, we breached the building, into our Capitol.”
In a cellphone video that the FBI said was shot by Sandlin in Washington prior to the riot, DeGrave is quoted saying, “We are out here protecting the country. ... We are here, we are ready. I say bring it. We are not silent anymore.”
Officer Larry Hadfield, a Las Vegas police spokesman, said Friday the arrests had no connection with an ongoing internal affairs probe of the activities of a veteran Las Vegas police officer, Christopher Cooney, who posted photos of himself at the Capitol on the day of the riot.
“There is no evidence that Officer Cooney participated in any criminal activity during the incident,” Hadfield said in a statement.
The head of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association has said Cooney denied any involvement in illegal activity.
Associated Press writer Rebecca Boone in Boise, Idaho, contributed to this report.