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4 Southern California men sentenced to federal prison for Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot

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Four Southern California men have been sentenced to federal prison for their part in the Ja.6 U.S. Capitol riot. 

The Department of Justice said the men identified as "Three Percenters," described as an antigovernment group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The convicted felons received similar prison sentences:

  • Erik Scott Warner, 48, of Menifee, California, was sentenced to 27 months in prison
  • Felipe Antonio Martinez, 50, of Lake Elsinore, California, was sentenced to 21 months in prison
  • Derek Kinnison, 42, of Lake Elsinore, California was sentenced to 33 months in prison
  • Ronald Mele, 54, of Temecula, California, was sentenced to 33 months in prison

In addition to their prison sentences, the federal judge ordered each man to pay $2,000 in restitution and complete 36 months of supervised release. 

A federal court convicted all four men of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and obstruction of an official proceeding. Each man was also convicted of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, both of which are misdemeanors.

Warner and Kinnison were also convicted of an additional felony of tampering with documents or records. 

During the trial, prosecutors revealed the four men worked together to collect weapons, travel to Washington D.C. and obstruct Congress' certification of the 2020 election. They dubbed their Telegram chat "The California Patriots — DC Brigade," according to the DOJ. 

On the date of the insurrection, the group joined the "Stop the Steal" rally before marching towards the Capitol. When they arrived at about 2:00 p.m., Kennison said, "This is the storm of the Capitol," as the men weaved through the crowd, according to the DOJ. 

Prosecutors said all of the men actively participated in the riot by provoking the crowd, dawning tactical plate carriers and carrying weapons such as bear spray, a wooden flag pole and knives. 

The DOJ said Mele took a selfie video as he marched up the northwest stairs while shouting "Storm the Capitol."

After the riot, Warner and Kinnison deleted the Telegram chat from their phones. 

In the over three years since Jan. 6, federal prosecutors have charged more than 1,387 people with crimes related to the breach — nearly 500 of whom were charged with assaulting  or impeding law enforcement. 

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