SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Four members of a California militia associated with the anti-government ‘boogaloo’ movement were charged on Friday with conspiracy to obstruct justice in a plan to destroy records linked to the murder from last year in Oakland from a federal protective services officer and his partner’s injury, the US Department of Justice said.
The men are accused of conspiring to destroy communications and other documents on May 29, 2020, the murder of federal security officer David Patrick Underwood and the attempted murder of his partner while guarding the building Federal Ronald V. Dellums in Oakland.
Police officers were gunned down as a large protest over the police assassination of George Floyd in Minneapolis was underway nearby. Prosecutors said Air Force Sgt. Steven Carrillo, 32, shot Underwood and injured his partner. They said Carrillo used the protest as a cover for the crime and for his escape. Carrillo pleaded not guilty.
Days later, Carrillo, who had ties to the “boogaloo” movement, ambushed and killed a California sheriff’s deputy and injured four other officers in Santa Cruz County, authorities said. Carrillo awaits the trail of the murder and attempted murder charges. He pleaded not guilty.
The men charged on Friday are Jessie Alexander Rush, 29, of Turlock, Calif .; Robert Jesus Blancas, 33, transient resident of the Bay Area; Simon Sage Ybarra, 23, of Los Gatos, Calif .; and Kenny Matthew Miksch, 21, of San Lorenzo, Calif.
The indictment alleges that Rush, Blancas, Ybarra and Miksch, along with Carrillo, were members of the Grizzly Scouts, a militia group based in Northern California that connected through a Facebook group and met periodically in person to firearms training, federal prosecutors said.
Boogaloo members are part of a free extremist, anti-government, and pro-gun movement. The name refers to a slang term for a sequel – in this case, a Second American Civil War.
According to the indictment, members of the Grizzly Scouts, including Rush, Blancas, Ybarra, Miksch, Carrillo and others communicated with each other on June 1, 2020 and June 2, 2020, using a WhatsApp group in which the discussions referred to several times. boog ”and tactics involving the murder of police and other law enforcement.
Carrillo exchanged messages on the WhatsApp group with other Grizzly Boy Scouts and told the group on June 6, 2020 that he was preparing to embark on a shootout with law enforcement, authorities said. He asked other Grizzly Boy Scouts to come to his aid, according to court documents.
The indictment alleges that Rush immediately ordered Carrillo on the WhatsApp group to ‘reset’ his phone and that Blancas deleted the Grizzly Scouts related files from a Dropbox account less than an hour after the shooting on the 6th. June 2020 in Santa Cruz County.
He also alleges that the four defendants each deleted the recordings of the WhatsApp group’s communications from their phones. According to the indictment, a message from Carrillo read: “The guys ate food.”
Rush, Blancas, Ybarra and Miksch are charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice by destroying files and destroying files in official proceedings. Rush is charged with one additional count of obstructing official process and Blancas is charged with one additional count of destroying documents in official process.
Ybarra was scheduled to appear in federal court on Friday for a detention hearing. The other three men are in federal custody. It was not immediately clear whether they had lawyers who could speak on their behalf.
If found guilty, they could each face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000 on each count of conspiracy, obstruction and destruction.