Three self-described militia members from Ohio and Virginia faced federal charges that they participated in the assault on the US Capitol earlier this month.
Thomas Edward Caldwell, 65, of Clarke County, Virginia, appears to have a leadership role in the Oath Keepers, a paramilitary group that believes in a “shadowy conspiracy” to strip citizens of their rights, according to FBI investigators.
It often recruits current and former military, police or other first responders.
An affidavit filed against Caldwell states that he was involved in the planning and coordinating of the Capitol breach with other members, including two people from Champaign County, Ohio.
Federal documents identify them as Jessica Watkins and Donovan Crowl and state that they are members of the Ohio State Regular Militia, dues-paying members of the Oath Keepers.
Charging documents show messages between Caldwell and the others about arranging hotel rooms in the Washington DC area.
In one Facebook message from Crowl to Caldwell, Crowl states: “Will probably call you tomorrow . mainly because . I like to know wtf plan is. You are the man COMMANDER.”
The next day, federal authorities say that Caldwell sent Facebook messages regarding the January 6 Capitol attack.
“Proud boys scuffled with cops and drove them inside to hide,” Caldwell’s message said, according to court documents.
“Breached the doors. One guy made it all the way to the house floor, another to Pelosi’s office. A good time.”
Federal authorities said that Caldwell sent another message to an Oath Keepers leader encouraging them to storm Ohio’s capital, Columbus.
Caldwell faces charges that include conspiracy and violent entry or disorderly conduct.
He was arrested on Tuesday.
Watkins and Crowl were being held at a county jail in Dayton, after being arrested on Monday.
Federal investigators used social media posts and news media interviews the suspects gave to help identify them.
The Ohio suspects each face three charges: entering a restricted building or grounds; violent entry or disorderly conduct and obstruction of an official proceeding.
It wasn’t clear immediately whether any of three had military or law enforcement experience.