US prosecutors on Friday shined additional light on legal action against four rioters who stormed Capitol Hill this week.
The accused include people who have high profiles due to their alleged crimes and the evidence of their participation in the riot circulating on social media.
“This investigation has the highest priority at the Department of Justice,” Ken Cole, an assistant at the US attorney’s office in the District of Columbia, told reporters. “We literally have hundreds of prosecutors and agents working for three command centres in what is really a 24-7 operation.”
Police have already made 55 arrests related to the riot and have also charged 11 others with unlawfully entering Capitol grounds.
“Just because you left the DC region, you can still expect a knock on the door if we find out that you were part of the criminal activity at the Capitol,” said Steven D’Antuono, the assistant director at the FBI’s Washington, DC, field office. “The bottom line in all this is the FBI is not sparing any resources in this investigation.”
The FBI is soliciting tips to help identify the Capitol hill rioters at 1-800- CALL-FBI and fbi.gov/UScapitol.
Christopher Alberts is charged with possession of a loaded handgun while unlawfully entering the Capitol. Mr Alberts, who has already been arrested, lives in Maryland.
Law enforcement officers arrested Richard Barnett in his home state of Arkansas. Mr Barnett entered House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and posed for a picture with a foot on her desk. Mr Barnett can also be seen in photographs standing outside of Ms Pelosi’s office holding her mail.
The Justice Department is charging him with knowingly entering and remaining in a restricted building’s grounds, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and theft of public property.
Mr Cole stated that Capitol police discovered a heavily armed pickup truck owned by Lonnie Coffman while responding to reports of pipe bombs near Capitol Hill.
He said that the red pickup truck with Alabama license plates contained 11 Molotov cocktails as well as multiple handguns, an assault rifle and material “that essentially constituted homemade napalm.”
A newly elected delegate in the West Virginia state legislature, Derrick Evans, recorded himself entering the Capitol. The Justice Department is charging Mr Evans with entering a restricted area without permission and unlawfully entering the Capitol. He has so far refused to leave office despite calls for his resignation from Democratic politicians in West Virginia.
Mark Leffingwell is accused of assaulting a police officer and unlawfully entering the US Capitol. Mr Cole said that Mr Leffingwell punched a Capitol Hill police officer.