Six other people linked to the far-right militant group Oath Keepers were indicted on charges of having planned and coordinated the invasion of the Capitol with each other, authorities said Friday.
The case against Oath Keepers affiliates is the largest conspiracy to date brought by the Justice Department in the January 6 insurrection. The six new people arrested this week are indicted along with three others who were charged last month with conspiring to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory.
Authorities say the defendants prepared for weeks before the invasion, attended training sessions and recruited others. They wore bulletproof vests and helmets, advanced in an organized manner toward the Capitol and exchanged communications during the assault, prosecutors said. Several defendants formed an infantry-style formation, ascending the steps of the Capitol with one hand on the shoulder of the person in front of them, according to authorities.
The new arrests include an Ohio couple, Sandra and Bennie Parker. The other people charged are Graydon Young, of Englewood, Florida; his sister Laura Steele, of Thomasville, North Carolina; Kelly Meggs and his wife Connie Meggs, of Dunnellon, Florida.
Kelly Meggs, whom authorities describe as the leader of Oath Keepers in Florida, wrote in a Facebook message in December: “Trump said there is going to be a riot! There is going to be a revolt! He wants us to get rowdy, is what he’s saying. He summoned all of us to the Capitol and wants us to make a riot! ”According to court documents.
Later that month, authorities say Young contacted a company that trains combat and firearms to inquire about a class on rifles for four people, according to the indictment.
Bennie Parker was in communication with an Oath Keepers member who was arrested last month, Jessica Watkins, before the trip to Washington, to discuss aspects such as the uniforms and equipment they would bring on January 6, authorities said, noting that Sandra Parker entered the Capitol while her husband kept in touch from the outside.