A band of brothers that needs to be broken up. On 1/6 there was a plan to bring a substantial firearms cache to the Capitol occupation.
Members of the Oath Keepers, the paramilitary extremists who played a central role in storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, appeared to stash firearms at a Comfort Inn in Arlington, Va., prosecutors indicated in a late Monday court filing.
The Justice Department has long pointed to private messages shared by Oath Keepers leaders alluding to a so-called quick reaction force — a cache of weaponry stowed outside of Washington — that they could have called upon had the Jan. 6 violence escalated even further. But until now, prosecutors have presented minimal evidence about the specific location of this QRF — or even whether it truly existed or was just tough talk.
Monday’s filing, part of an effort to prevent the pretrial release of Oath Keeper Kenneth Harrelson, suggests prosecutors are increasingly confident that the group stashed some weaponry at a hotel in Ballston, a suburban Virginia neighborhood roughly 15 minutes from the Capitol building.
“We get that QRF hotel address yet?” Harrelson asked in a group signal chat on Jan. 5.
Oath Keeper Kelly Meggs, who is charged alongside Harrelson and 10 other members of the group with conspiring to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory on Jan. 6, responded by asking for a direct message.
Prosecutors said that within hours of this exchange, cell phone data places Harrelson’s location in the vicinity of the Comfort Inn in Ballston. But Harrelson didn’t appear to return there until the morning of Jan. 7, they said. Rather, they believe he stayed at a Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Washington during the remainder of his visit.
“It is reasonable to believe that during this hour, Defendant Harrelson was dropping off his weapons with Person Three and the QRF,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Nestler wrote in the filing.
Oath Keepers, 2009: “We target law enforcement and military for recruitment.
”60 Minutes, 2021: “Oath Keepers target law enforcement and military for recruitment.”