MANILA - A man who was seen carrying a "walis tambo" (broom) during the riot of Trump supporters at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. in January has been arrested in Virginia, authorities have said.
Kene Brian Lazo was arrested by federal agents on Friday in Norfolk, Virginia on charges related to the US Capitol breach on Jan. 6.
The assault on the US Capitol, which left 5 people dead, came hours after then still President Donald Trump urged his supporters to fight the election outcome and block the formal certification of then President-elect Joe Biden's victory.
The certification eventually pushed through despite unprecedented violence.
According to the affidavit filed by a special agent, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) received a tip about a Facebook user named "Fam Council" who stormed the Capitol last January, with the account bearing a photo of a masked rioter who wore a helmet with a "Rodbustars" sticker.
FBI agents then traced "Rodbustars" to Rodbustars LLC, a company owned by Lazo and his wife, as well as a business phone number.
Records of that number the FBI obtained showed that the phone was near the Capitol at the time of the riot and that it was the same number listed on the 'Fam Council' Facebook account.
Agents later found through records obtained from Facebook that the account was run by Lazo and his wife, but that it was Lazo who posted about going to Washington, D.C. to protest, the affidavit said.
On Jan. 3, Lazo wrote “all is good uncle..i will be going (to) washington DC to protest on jan6.”
A day later, he told someone on Facebook that he “will be the only 1 with a boi boi representing (A)sians."
"Boi boi" appears to be a reference to the "walis tambo" broom
commonly used in Philippine households, the affidavit said.
After the riot, Lazo posted on Facebook that he “took a boi boi to the Capitol and swept the floor literally.”
A day later, someone on Facebook asked him, “How does it feel being there protesting at the White House Brian? Are you still there right now?”
Lazo responded that “they still stole it even tho there cheating ... it was humbling.”
He also posted photos of the outfit he planned to wear on January 6, the day of the Capitol breach.
The "walis tambo" man faces the following charges:
- Knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority
- Disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority
- Disorderly conduct on Capitol Grounds or in a Capitol Building and;
- Parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.
Trump had claimed electoral fraud against the Democrats without basis when he lost his reelection bid to Biden.
Nearly 4 months after the US Capitol attack, just 1 of more than 440 people charged has pleaded guilty, a sign of tough conditions set by prosecutors for plea deals and resistance by defense lawyers to their demands.
The Justice Department launched a massive investigation into the attack, where the mob smashed windows, fought with police and sent lawmakers into hiding.
— With a report from Reuters