Monthly: Jan 23

Hello, MilitiaWatch readers! Here you’ll find the monthly update for January 2023, the first of a new year for militia activity. This one’s another brief update, with some legal updates and a few key moments of mobilization that are worth knowing about.

Last month’s update, December 22, is available for your reading pleasure here and all other updates can be found here.

Militia Mobilization: 2A LARP at the Richmond Capitol Returns After Slump

On January 16, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), a right-wing pro-gun organization whose leader is perhaps most famous for getting duped by Sacha Baren Cohen, held their annual Lobby Day in Richmond. Notably, attendance at the VCDL Lobby Day in 2020, a year of massive paramilitary and militia mobilization, was about 28,000. This year came nowhere near those numbers but seemed to have higher attendance than in the last two years.

The Virginia Kekoas, a Virginia-based Boogaloo cell, were present and complied with police orders to not enter the capitol’s “gun-free zone” when asked. Armed associates of BLM757, named for “Black Lives Matter” but widely disavowed by local racial justice organizers and known to “hijack” local actions, were also present to make some statements, as were members of the RVA Fred Hampton Gun Club, who are known to associate with antisemitic conspiracists.

A small gaggle of III% adherents confronted the Black activists for conversation, likely to discuss which reactionary views both armed activists held. Another contingent of perhaps unrelated protesters gathered at the Capitol to oppose vaccine mandates.

J6 Updates: More Seditious Conspiracy, More Soldiers Charged

On January 23, a jury convicted four more members of the Oath Keepers for seditious conspiracy following their involvement in the attack on the US Capitol Building in January 2021. None of the four defendants (David Moerschel, Joseph Hackett, Roberto Minuta, Edward Vallejo), who entered the U.S. Capitol in tactical gear, played a leadership role in an organization. One final seditious conspiracy trial against five Proud Boys is still ongoing. Combined with the five charges from November’s update, the list of guilty verdicts for J6 seditious conspiracy is as follows:

  • Hackett (23 January 2023)
  • Meggs (29 November 2022)
  • Minuta (23 January 2023)
  • Moerschel (23 January 2023)
  • Rhodes (29 November 2022)
  • Vallejo (23 January 2023)

On January 17, 3 active-duty Marines on intelligence-related assignments were charged for their involvement in the storming of the US Capitol Building two years prior. One of the Marines, Micah Coomer, via Instagram direct message, said “we need a fresh restart… I’m waiting for the boogaloo”. He then clarified that by “boogaloo”, he meant “Civil War 2”. Coomer of Indiana and his two co-defendants, Joshua Abate of Virginia and Dodge Dale Hellonen of Michigan, all face four misdemeanor counts.

Boog Legal Updates

On January 10, Boogaloo adherent and detainee Aron McKillips of Ohio entered his pleas during a court hearing related to his charges from last November. He denies threatening law enforcement. McKillips was arrested at the same time as Timothy Teagan, a prominent Michigan-based Boogaloo activist.

On  January 26, a Pasadena man, who the DoJ alleges is a Boogaloo adherent, was charged in a federal complaint that states he brandished a loaded weapon near a high school in South Los Angeles late last year. When police officers arrested the man, they found him to be wearing a plate carrier and carrying zip ties and a couple of knives. A search of his car, which a dealership reported stolen earlier that day, resulted in police allegedly finding an unserialized 9mm gun, upper and lower receiver of a short-barreled AR-15 style rifle, and a drop-in auto sear intended to convert a semi-automatic weapon into a fully automatic one. A search of the suspect’s home allegedly turned up more firearms, dozens of auto sears, and a large Boogaloo flag.

Everything Else: Chicago Oath Keeper Cop Goes Unpunished, Grandmaster Jay Gets Another Year, and Virginia Beach Nazi Caught for Making Suppressors

On January 13, the Chicago Police Department’s Bureau of International Affairs said it did not recommend discipline against a Chicago police officer identified as a member of the Oath Keepers. A separate Chicago PD officer, Robert Baker, who lied about being part of the Proud Boys, returned to the force this month.

On January 26, Jay “Grandmaster Jay” Johnson, the leader of the now-defunct Not Fucking Around Coalition (NFAC), got one more year added to his sentence in a guilty plea over his pointing of a rifle toward a federal officer in Louisville in 2020. This brings his total sentence to just over 8 years.

On January 26, a Virginia Beach man was sentenced to a little over 3 years of jail time for unlawful possession of homemade suppressors. The DOJ claims that the defendant brought an AR-15-style rifle and suppressor to a militia camp and described his neo-Nazi podcast. The DoJ also claims 23-year-old George Pickard had ties to the American Identity Movement, Identity Evropa, Patriot Front, and The Right Stuff.

Further Reading

  • Task Force Butler released a handbook for monitoring Patriot Front should they come to your area.