Federal agents make two more Capitol riot-related arrests in North Carolina

Federal agents make two more Capitol riot-related arrests in North Carolina
Federal agents made two more Capitol riot-related arrests in North Carolina this week.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Federal agents made two more Capitol riot-related arrests in North Carolina this week.

A federal grand jury indicted Lewis Easton Cantwell on charges of civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, entering and remaining in a restricted building and grounds, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building and grounds, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a Capitol building and grounds and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.

In the other case, Laura Steele, 52, was arrested Wednesday in Greensboro and charged in federal court for conspiring to obstruct the United States Congress’s certification of the result of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election, among other charges.

Federal officials say Steele was associated with an organization known as the Oath Keepers, some of whose members were among those who forcibly entered the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Steele is one of six individuals who were added as co-defendants to a superseding indictment filed today in United States v. Thomas Caldwell, Donovan Crowl, and Jessica Watkins, 21-cr-28-APM.

The indictment alleges Steele donned paramilitary gear and joined with Watkins and Crowl in a military-style “stack” formation that marched up the center steps on the east side of the U.S. Capitol, breached the door at the top, and then stormed the building.

The indictment charges all nine defendants with one count of conspiring to commit an offense against the United States, one count of depredation against federal government property and unlawful entry, disorderly conduct, or violent conduct in restricted buildings or grounds.

The case is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Counterterrorism Section of the DOJ’s National Security Division with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Middle District of Florida, the Middle District of North Carolina, and the Southern District of Ohio. The superseding indictment is the result of an ongoing investigation by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Jacksonville Field Office, Tampa Field Office, Charlotte Field Office, and Cincinnati Field Office.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

The FBI is looking for individuals who may have incited or promoted violence of any kind. Anyone with digital material or tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or submit images or videos at www.tips.fbi.gov.

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