SAN FRANCISCO—The Department of Justice announced Friday, April 9, that a federal grand jury indicted four members of “a militia group” that federal prosecutors say was associated with the “boogaloo movement” with conspiracy to obstruct justice and destroying records.
The authorities explained that the term boogaloo “is a term sometimes used by certain militia extremists to reference a politically motivated civil war or uprising against the government. The ‘boogaloo’ is not a single cohesive group, but rather a loose concept that has become a rallying point for some extremists.”
Authorities say that Jessie Alexander Rush, Robert Jesus Blancas, Simon Sage Ybarra, and Kenny Matthew Miksch allegedly obstructed justice and destroyed records that were associated with the May 29, 2020 shooting death of two federal security officers in Oakland, California.
The federal prosecutors explained in the news release that the defendants were “members of the ‘1st Detachment, 1st California Grizzly Scouts’ (Grizzly Scouts), a militia group based in Northern California,” said the federal prosecutors.
The Grizzly Scouts, in April of 2020, met on their Facebook group page and “periodically met in person for firearms training and other purposes,” said the federal prosecutors.
According to the feds, the description on the group’s Facebook page said that they were “here to gather like-minded Californians who can network and establish local goon squads.”
The authorities indicated that the defendants communicated with each other on June 1-2, 2020 through their WhatsApp “in which discussions repeatedly referenced ‘boog’ and tactics involving the killing of police officers and other law enforcement.”
The authorities said that on May 29, 2020, around 9:44 p.m., a passenger in a white van shot two federal Protective Security Officers (PSOs) at the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building and the United States Courthouse in Oakland, Calif.
The authorities noted that one of the PSOs passed away because of the gunshots and the other PSO sustained serious injuries that required surgery.
“The indictment also references the June 6, 2020 shootings of deputies of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office,” the authorities said. Around 2:00 p.m. that same day, the authorities indicated that sheriff’s deputies received a call that led them to an address in Ben Lomond, Calif., which was associated with an abandoned white van.
According to the authorities, a member of the Grizzly Scouts” exchanged messages on the WhatsApp group with other Grizzly Scouts, in which that member allegedly told the group that he was preparing to engage in a shoot-out with law enforcement. The member allegedly asked the other Grizzly Scouts to come to his aid.”
Rush, the authorities said, “immediately instructed” the other Grizzly Scouts on WhatsApp to “delete evidence on his phone.” The authorities explained that within 30 minutes, Blancas obeyed Rush’s directions and deleted the files, and “within hours of the shooting, members of the Grizzly Scouts including Rush, Blancas, Ybarra, and Miksch allegedly began to reconnect on an alternative communications application.”
According to the authorities, the defendants “deleted records of the WhatsApp group communications from their phones, including the prior discussions regarding violence against law enforcement.”
Federal prosecutors noted that all four defendants are charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice by destroying records and Rush is also charged with another count of obstruction of official proceedings. Authorities said that Blancas is also charged with an additional count of destruction of records in official proceedings.
If convicted, the defendants could face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for the charges, the prosecutors said.