New Mexico Official, Who Founded 'Cowboys for Trump,' Arrested in Connection with U.S. Capitol Riot

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department said on Sunday that it had arrested an elected official from New Mexico who had vowed to travel to Washington with firearms to protest President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

Cuoy Griffin, a New Mexico county commissioner and founder of a group called "Cowboys for Trump," was arrested in Washington on charges related to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to documents posted on the Justice Department's website.

Griffin was among thousands who stormed the Capitol in an attempt to block Congress from certifying Democrat Biden's victory over Republican President Donald Trump, according to charging documents. He stood on the steps of the building but did not enter it.

After the riot, Griffin said he planned to return ahead of Biden's inauguration this Wednesday. "If we do, then it's gonna be a sad day, because there's gonna be blood running out of that building," he said in a video posted to Facebook, according to an FBI document. 

Back in New Mexico, Griffin told a Thursday meeting of the Otero County Council that he planned to drive to Washington with a rifle and a revolver. He faces trespassing charges.

Federal authorities have brought criminal charges against more than 100 people so far in connection with the Jan. 6 riot, in which Trump's supporters stormed the Capitol, ransacked offices and attacked police. Investigators are scouring more than 140,000 videos and photos from the siege in which five people died, including a police officer.

U.S. officials arrested 10 more people on Saturday and Sunday. Among them was Chad Barrett Jones of Kentucky, who authorities said was captured on video using a wooden flagpole to try to break glass door panels in the House of Representatives. He faces several charges, including assaulting a federal officer.

Two cousins, Daniel Adams of Texas and Cody Connell of Louisiana, likewise face charges of assaulting a federal officer for allegedly pushing their way past Capitol Police into the building. Connell posted videos of their activity on social media and told others he planned to return to Washington with firearms and body armor, according to FBI documents. 

Law enforcement officials have been bracing for further violence. More than a dozen states activated National Guard troops following an FBI warning of armed demonstrations by right-wing extremists. But by late Sunday afternoon, only handfuls of demonstrators had taken to the streets.

 (Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Peter Cooney)


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