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Terrorist Leader Stewart Rhodes of Oath Keepers charged with seditious conspiracy

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

Federal authorities arrested a Granbury man and charged him with seditious conspiracy for his alleged role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, 56, was arrested a little before noon Thursday in Little Elm, Texas, federal officials said.

Rhodes is reported to be the founder and leader of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group.

Ten other people -- including another Prosper, Texas man, 37-year-old Roberto Minuta -- have also been charged with seditious conspiracy in connection with the attack on Jan. 6, 2021, when authorities said members of the extremist Oath Keepers group came to Washington intent on stopping the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.

According to the federal indictment, Rhodes and others began in late December 2020 using encrypted and private messaging apps to coordinate, plan and travel -- armed -- to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021.

Among their plans, the indictment said, was organizing into teams that were "prepared and willing to use force" and to transport firearms and ammo into the D.C. area.

Per the indictment, Rhodes and others also allegedly recruited members to participate in the conspiracy; organized trainings to teach and learn paramilitary combat tactics; brought and provided paramilitary gear, weapons and supplies; breached the Capitol and attempted to take control of the Capitol grounds; and continued to plot after Jan. 6 to prevent the lawful transfer of presidential power.

With his arrest, Rhodes becomes the highest-ranking member of an extremist group to be arrested in relation to the deadly insurrection, according to officials. He's scheduled to have a first appearance in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas, in Plano, on Friday afternoon.

Rhode's arrest also marks the first time the Justice Department has brought a seditious conspiracy charge in connection with the attack on the Capitol. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, according to federal officials.

In the one year since Jan. 6, more than 725 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol. More than 225 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.

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