WASHINGTON — F.B.I. brokers have arrested two organizers for the Proud Boys in Philadelphia and North Carolina, and prosecutors filed new expenses towards two different outstanding members of the far-right group in Florida and Washington State as federal authorities continued their crackdown on its leadership ranks, three legislation enforcement officers mentioned on Wednesday.
With the brand new conspiracy indictment, prosecutors have now introduced expenses towards a complete of 13 individuals recognized in courtroom papers as members of the Proud Boys. Federal investigators have described the group, which appeared in power in Washington on Jan. 6, as one of many chief instigators of the riot on the Capitol that left 5 individuals lifeless, together with a Capitol Police officer.
Within the indictment, prosecutors accused Charles Donohoe, a Proud Boys chief from North Carolina, and Zach Rehl, the president of the group’s chapter in Philadelphia, of conspiring to intrude with legislation enforcement officers on the Capitol and impede the certification of President Biden’s electoral victory. Two different high-ranking Proud Boys who have been already going through comparable expenses — Ethan Nordean of Auburn, Wash., and Joseph Biggs of Ormond Seaside, Fla. — have been additionally implicated as a part of the conspiracy.
The F.B.I. declined to remark.
The Proud Boys, who emerged lately as a few of former President Donald J. Trump’s most vocal and violent supporters, describe themselves as “Western chauvinists” and have a historical past of bloody road fights with left-wing antifascist activists. These clashes intensified final 12 months in the course of the nationwide protests stemming from the demise of George Floyd by the hands of the police in Minneapolis. Throughout a presidential debate in September, Mr. Trump refused to disavow the Proud Boys, telling them as a substitute in a broadly watched second to “stand back and stand by.”
Whereas the Proud Boys had largely managed to avoid federal scrutiny, that modified after the Jan. 6 riot. The F.B.I. started aggressively investigating members of the group concerned within the assault on the Capitol. Brokers have searched properties throughout the nation, scoured social media accounts and delved into the non-public communications of Proud Boys leaders. Members of the group have been charged in 4 conspiracy instances, accused of crimes together with threatening a federal officer and the destruction of presidency property.
The brand new conspiracy case was the newest product of the efforts to prosecute the Proud Boys. Investigators have mentioned that Mr. Biggs, 37, and Mr. Nordean, 30, geared up with radios and a bullhorn, led a mob of about 100 members and supporters of the group that marched by way of the streets of Washington on Jan. 6 chanting slogans and finally breached safety obstacles on the Capitol. Some Proud Boys were among the first rioters to shatter home windows and enter the constructing, confronting cops inside.
Mr. Biggs, a former Military sergeant, was launched from custody pending trial shortly after his arrest in January, and his case has been in a form of authorized holding sample for weeks. Mr. Nordean was launched from custody on March 3 after the chief decide of the Federal District Court docket in Washington agreed together with his legal professionals that the proof that he was accountable for aiding and abetting the violence and property destruction dedicated by his fellow Proud Boys on the Capitol was — no less than at that time — comparatively weak.
Mr. Rehl, 35, has styled himself as one of many Proud Boys’ most outstanding representatives on the East Coast and has led the group’s Philadelphia chapter since no less than 2018, in keeping with federal legislation enforcement officers. This summer time, he and different Proud Boys have been noticed socializing with local police officers outside a Philadelphia police union lodge.