The leader of the US ultra-right wing formation Oath Keepers (the Oath Keepers) was arrested on Thursday after being charged with conspiring for sedition for having participated in the assault on the Capitol January 6, 2021.
In a statement, the US Department of Justice indicated that Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, 56, originally from Granbury (Texas), is considered the founder and leader of the organization, and who was arrested in the Texas town of Little Elm on Thursday morning.
This is the first time that Rhodes before the Justice for the events of January 6, more than a year after the events occurred.
The Oath Keepers They are a loosely structured organization linked to citizen militias and, although it accepts anyone as a member, it focuses its recruitment tasks on ex-military personnel, police officers and first aid personnel.
In addition to their leader, charges of sedition were also brought against ten other members of the Oath Keepers, residents in various parts of the country, from Arizona to Ohio.
According to the Department of Justice, Rhodes and the rest of the defendants conspired after the US presidential election of November 3, 2020, which was won by the Democratic candidate and current president, Joe Biden, to “To oppose by force the execution of the laws that govern the transfer of presidential power.”
Thus, according to the indictment, the defendants coordinated among themselves through encrypted communication applications and planned their trip to the capital, Washington, for the day on which the election results were to be ratified – on January 6 – in Congress. carrying weapons.
On that journey, Rhodes and the rest of the defendants were part of a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump that carried out a violent assault on the Capitol, which left five dead, and offered images unheard of in recent US history.
To date, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia has charged more than 700 individuals, residents across the United States, for crimes ranging from physically attacking police officers to impeding the exercise of their duties. functions, going through destroying government property and entering a restricted-access building.
The highest sentence issued to date – released on December 17 – fell on a man who attacked police officers with a fire extinguisher and was sentenced to five years and three months in prison.