Arizona man accused in Oath Keepers plot jailed until trial
PHOENIX - A Phoenix man accused of coordinating teams that were on standby to deliver guns to members and associates of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot will remain jailed until his trial on seditious conspiracy and other charges, a judge in Arizona ruled Thursday.
U.S. Magistrate Judge John Boyle concluded Edward Vallejo, 63, posed a danger to the community. The judge said Vallejo has made incendiary comments about violence since the riot, rejected his attorney’s claim that Vallejo was a minor player in the alleged plot and noted that there was no evidence showing he was remorseful for his actions.
Prosecutors say Vallejo coordinated “quick reaction force” teams that kept guns at a hotel in nearby Arlington, Virginia, and were prepared to bring the weapons into Washington if Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes or associates believed the need arose. They say Vallejo, in the end, wasn’t called to transport the guns into Washington.
“If Mr. Rhodes had given that order, you would have complied,” Boyle said during the court hearing.
Vallejo is one of 11 members and associates of the Oath Keepers charged last week with seditious conspiracy. They are accused of working together to use force to stop the peaceful transfer of presidential power. Rhodes, who is among those charged in the case, is jailed in Texas and is scheduled for a detention hearing on Monday.
Authorities say those charged in the plot discussed their plans in encrypted chats, traveled to the nation’s capital from across the country, organized into teams, used military tactics, stashed weapons in case they felt they were needed and communicated with each other during the riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
As the riot was unfolding in Washington, Vallejo sent a message on a chat saying, “QRF (quick reaction force) standing by at hotel. Just say the word.”
During the riot, prosecutor say Vallejo also tried unsuccessfully to launch a drone to use for reconnaissance.
Authorities say Vallejo, Rhodes and others met at a restaurant in Vienna, Virginia, on the evening of Jan. 6 to celebrate the attack on the Capitol.
Vallejo’s attorney, Debbie Jang, said her client didn’t pose a danger to the community. She said Vallejo served in the U.S. Army in the late 1970s, works with a group that helps veterans and doesn’t have a criminal record.
More than 720 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riot. Over 190 riot defendants have pleaded guilty, mostly to misdemeanors, and more than 80 of them have been sentenced.