A Montana man who owns a lawn care business and meticulously documented his participation in the riots on Instagram before fleeing to Kenya was also charged.
A New York tattoo artist and member of the far-right militia group the Oath Keepers who provided protection to disgraced Trump adviser Roger Stone the day of the sacking of the U.S. Capitol was arrested Saturday by the FBI for allegedly taking part in the Jan. 6 insurrection, a law enforcement official confirmed to The Daily Beast.
Roberto Minuta, 36, was taken into custody at a business in Newburgh, New York, according to NBC New York, which first reported the arrest. Minuta is set to appear in White Plains federal court on Monday. Attorney information for him was unavailable at press time.
Minuta, who reportedly lives in New Jersey, was spotted by ABC News providing security for Stone the day of the Capitol riot. Asked for comment, Minuta’s wife told the outlet that her husband hadn’t entered the Capitol building and had not been charged with a crime. As previously reported by The Daily Beast, Minuta also has ties to the far-right militia group, the Oath Keepers. Dozens of Oath Keepers have since been arrested after allegedly planning for at least two months to storm the Capitol after the 2020 election.
Minuta owns and operates a tattoo parlor in Newburgh called Casa Di Dolore—“House of Pain” in Italian—which made headlines in May 2020 for reopening in defiance of state lockdown orders. A crowd of supporters gathered outside Minuta’s shop the day he reopened, including a number of Oath Keepers and the group’s founder, Stewart Rhodes, who traveled to Newburgh from Texas to be there.
“Robert will be urging other NY small business owners to follow his example in a mass defiance of Cuomo’s edicts,” Rhodes wrote in a “call to action” on the Oath Keepers’ website prior to the event, asking others to be there. “You should know that Robert drove 350 miles all the way down to Richmond, VA on January 20, 2020 to stand with us and our Virginia brothers at the massive, historic open carry rally to put the Virginia tyrant, Governor Ralph ‘Blackface’ Northam on notice that We the People will NOT comply with his unconstitutional violations of our rights.”
As The Daily Beast previously reported, Minuta has also worked security for other Trumpworld figures such as former Trump National Security Adviser Mike Flynn and far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones at so-called Stop the Steal rallies in the aftermath of the 2020 election. Minuta was identified by Citizen Lab researcher John Scott-Railton and a group of volunteers calling themselves the “Capitol Terrorists Exposers” who were the first to note Minuta’s connection to Flynn. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Scott-Railton described the relationships between organized groups such as the Oath Keepers and high-ranking members of Trump’s inner circle as “troubling.” Although Flynn did not respond to a request for comment, his brother Joseph said neither he nor his brother knew Minuta.
Volunteer researchers dubbed Minuta “Goggles” for the protective eyewear he wore in footage posted online of the Jan. 6 Capitol siege. “We don’t care about your jobs!” he yelled at cops guarding the building.
Federal authorities also over the weekend arrested Isaac Steve Sturgeon, 32, for allegedly using a metal police barrier to push into officers—before crawling under the barricade to breach the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Sturgeon, who owns a lawn care business in Dillon, Montana, was arrested Saturday afternoon at JFK Airport in New York City on several charges, including obstruction of justice, for participating in the siege. Sturgeon was deposited after authorities issued a warrant for his arrest.
According to a criminal complaint obtained by The Daily Beast, Sturgeon, who traveled to Kenya after the riots, was seen in photos and videos on the Capitol grounds with a green jacket, scarf, and dark backpack. He also meticulously documented his involvement in the riots on social media, posting several videos from former President Donald Trump’s speech at the Washington monument.
“I’ve seen the cry of The People today…,” he wrote in one Jan. 6 post, along with several photographs of him in a sea of MAGA supporters carrying confederate and Trump flags just outside the Capitol.
In another video Sturgeon posted on Instagram, a lone D.C. police officer is seen being pulled in various directions by a crowd of rioters who are yelling at him—before other insurrectionists try to use flag poles to break down the Capitol doors. “This officer was pulled out of the Capitol, and dragged down the stairs forcefully, and then protected and returned to the force,” Sturgeon wrote. “BY THE SAME PEOPLE. Today we stand to make a statement, not hurt the police. But to represent a real issue! STAND.”
Prosecutors allege the 32-year-old did in fact hurt law enforcement, as he was among a group of rioters who “picked up a metal police barricade and shoved” it into D.C. police officers. After pushing down officers, videos show Sturgeon crawling underneath the barrier to enter the government building.
About two weeks after the violent siege, Sturgeon traveled to Kenya and planned to turn to the U.S. on April 5. Sturgeon posted several photos on Instagram about his trip, including one Jan. 28 post with the caption, “Shhh Rona don’t know i’m here…”