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Cowboys for Trump leader arrested over US Capitol riot

January 18, 2021 GMT
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FILE - In this March 12, 2019, file photo, Cowboys for Trump leader and Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin, center, talks with Republican New Mexico state Rep. Candy Ezzell of Roswell, N.M., at a protest against gun control and pro-abortion rights legislation outside the New Mexico State Capitol, in Santa Fe, N.M. A New Mexico county official who runs a group called "Cowboys for Trump" who had vowed to return to Washington after last week's riot at the U.S. Capitol to place a flag on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's desk was arrested by the FBI on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. Griffin was arrested on charges of illegally entering the U.S. Capitol. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee, File)
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FILE - In this March 12, 2019, file photo, Cowboys for Trump leader and Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin, center, talks with Republican New Mexico state Rep. Candy Ezzell of Roswell, N.M., at a protest against gun control and pro-abortion rights legislation outside the New Mexico State Capitol, in Santa Fe, N.M. A New Mexico county official who runs a group called "Cowboys for Trump" who had vowed to return to Washington after last week's riot at the U.S. Capitol to place a flag on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's desk was arrested by the FBI on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. Griffin was arrested on charges of illegally entering the U.S. Capitol. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee, File)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico county official and founder of the group Cowboys for Trump who had vowed to return to Washington after last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol to place a flag on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk has been arrested Sunday by the FBI.

Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin was arrested on charges of illegally entering the U.S. Capitol.

According to court documents, Griffin told investigators that he was “caught up” in the crowd, which pushed its way through the barricades and entered the restricted area of the U.S. Capitol, but he said he did not enter the building and instead remained on the U.S. Capitol steps.

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A video posted to Griffin’s personal Facebook page shows Griffin in the restricted areas, according to the affidavit.

Griffin did not immediately respond to phone or text messages seeking comment.

On Thursday, Griffin, said he planned to travel with firearms to Washington, D.C., for Biden’s inauguration.

“I’m gonna be there on Jan. 20 ... and I’m gonna take a stand for our country and for our freedoms,” Griffin said during a meeting of the Otero County Board of Commissioners.

“I’m gonna leave either tonight or tomorrow. I’ve got a .357 Henry Big Boy rifle lever action that I’ve got in the trunk of my car and I’ve got a .357 single action revolver, the Colt Ruger Vaquero that I’ll have underneath the front seat on my right side and I will embrace my Second Amendment,” he said.

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Associated Press journalist Morgan Lee contributed to this report.