Federal prosecutors have discovered that Oath Keepers members stored weapons and supplies in a hotel near Washington, D.C., to prepare for the attack on Capitol Hill on January 6.
According to the prosecutors’ memoArguments for the pretrial detainment of Oath Keepers member Edward Vallejo, he and other members of the so-called “quick reaction force” (QRF), transported weapons, ammunition and enough essentials to last 30 days into a Comfort Inn in Arlington, Virginia. Vallejo, who hails from Phoenix, is facing a charge of seditious conspiracy; prosecutors say he “played a central role in the planned use of force in this plot.”
The memo also says that the leader of the Florida Oath Keepers team, Kelly Meggs, dropped off “at least three luggage carts’ worth of gun boxes, rifle cases, and suitcases filled with ammunition” at the hotel on January 5. North Carolina’s Oath Keepers team brought rifles that they kept in their cars on the parking lot.
Surveillance footage shows Vallejo, along with another member of Arizona, wheeling in large storage bins as well as a large bag into the hotel on morning of attack.
Oath Keepers communications before the Capitol attack reveal that extremist militia groups had been planning the attack for months. They also anticipated launching a war. Stewart Rhodes, founder and leader of the Oath Keepers. began riling up members for a “civil war” and a “bloody and desperate fight” only two days after the 2020 election.
Hours before the January 6 attack, Rhodes messaged supposed co-conspirators that the group “will have several well equipped QRFs outside DC. And there are many, many others, from other groups, who will be watching and waiting on the outside in case of worst case scenarios.”
That day, Oath Keepers organized “military-style stacks” of extremist right wingers to breach the Capitol. Meanwhile, in Arlington, “quick reaction force” teams were “awaiting deployment,” prosecutors said.
Oath Keepers were one of the The most heavily armedTrump militants who participated in the attempted coup. Up to 20 members of the group have been charged in connection with the attack. The group has been loyal to Trump for a long time. was also evidently on guard during Trump’s inauguration day in 2017, monitoring the crowd for political opponents.
Oath Keepers remained in that area for days after the attack. They waited for Rhodes’ orders, which could have prevented Joe Biden’s inauguration. They made plans for another attack and continued to accumulate tactical equipment.
Oath Keepers still discussed the possibility of starting a long-running battle to keep Trump from office after January 6. Joshua James, Texas Oath Keeper, is also facing a seditious conspiracy charge, sent a message on Inauguration Day saying “After this…if nothing happens…its war…Civil War 2.0.” However, their plan to interrupt the presidential inauguration never came to fruition.