Phoenix man, 10 others charged in 'seditious conspiracy' related to Jan. 6 Capitol breach

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Edward Vallejo, 63, of Phoenix, and 10 others, including the leader of the Oath Keepers, have been indicted in federal court "for Seditious Conspiracy and Other Offenses Related to U.S. Capitol Breach," according to charges unsealed Thursday. Vallejo was arrested in Phoenix Thursday morning.

The Department of Justice said in a press release that Vallejo coordinated quick reaction force teams on the day of the Capitol insurrection, Jan. 6. 2021.

"QRF teams were prepared to rapidly transport firearms and other weapons into Washington, D.C.,” the statement said, “in support of operations aimed at using force to stop the lawful transfer of presidential power."

Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, 56, of Granbury, Texas, who the government identified as the founder and leader of the Oath Keepers, was also arrested Thursday morning in Little Elm, Texas. The government defined the Oath Keepers as “a large but loosely organized collection of individuals, some of whom are associated with militias.”

Vallejo, Rhodes, and nine other previously charged defendants were named in the indictment.

According to the government, “Rhodes conspired with his co-defendants and others to oppose by force the execution of the laws governing the transfer of presidential power by Jan. 20, 2021.”

The indictment alleges Rhodes and the co-conspirators began coordinating in late December 2020, planning to bring weapons to the Capitol to support the operation.

According to the indictment, On Dec. 31, 2020, an Arizona QRF team member messaged Rhodes, saying Vallejo and others were coming to D.C. and that “everyone coming has their own technical equipment and knows how to use it,” adding a “winky face” emoji.

“The Arizona QRF team member also said that the group would have ‘rifles’ and ‘manpower,’” according to the indictment.

According to the indictment, Vallejo was standing by at a nearby hotel with guns and vehicles while the attack on the Capitol took place.

"Vallejo back at the hotel and outfitted. Have two trucks available. Let me know how I can assist," Vallejo alleged said in a group chat on the encrypted messaging app Signal.

Vallejo and the co-conspirators allegedly continued plotting against the government after the Jan. 6 attack. "We'll be back to 6am to do it again," Vallejo allegedly messaged the group chat. "We got food for 30 days. We have only [begun] to fight."

The DOJ said the FBI’s Phoenix field offices, as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Arizona, provided assistance in the case, which is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

“The charge of seditious conspiracy carries a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison,” the statement said. “A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.”

Have a news tip? Reach the reporter at jjenkins@arizonarepublic.com or at 812-243-5582. Follow him on Twitter @JimmyJenkins.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Phoenix man Edward Vallejo charged in Jan. 6 Capitol breach

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