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New January 6th riot arrests made in San Diego County

Facial recognition software, tips leading to arrests
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Posted at 6:54 PM, Mar 15, 2024

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Federal prosecutors have charged at least nine San Diego County residents with crimes relating to the January 6th attack on the Capitol more than three years ago, Team 10 has found.

“Clearly, they're sending a message: Don't come back to D.C. and try do this again, because this is what happens when you do that,” said Justin Brooks, a law professor at the University of San Diego.

Earlier this month, the FBI arrested Jordan Berk in San Diego. He’s one of several rioters from the county facing charges for their roles on January 6th, 2021.

A recently unsealed federal complaint alleges Berk was part of a Telegram group chat called the Patriots 45 MAGA Gang.

In it, he allegedly said: “So are we getting this election stolen from us or what” and “Don’t forget that Trump is pro[p]hesized to be the LAST American president no matter what happens.”

The court documents show photos of Berk inside the Capitol. Then-President Donald Trump had encouraged his followers to come to D.C. and claimed the 2020 election was “rigged” at a rally before crowds stormed the Capitol.

Last month, the FBI arrested Chula Vista resident Howard Freelove for breaching the building.

FBI wanted list

In January, federal prosecutors charged El Cajon resident David Gary with misdemeanors for his role in the Capitol riots. The same month the FBI arrested Jonathan Humphreys in San Diego. He got caught on camera entering the Capitol through a broken window next to the Senate doors.

Gary’s picture had been on an FBI wanted list until facial recognition software helped investigators identify him, court documents say.

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El Cajon resident David Gary is seen removing his mask to yell at officers inside the Capitol, court documents allege.

Surveillance footage from inside the Capitol captured Gary removing a mask to yell at officers and filmed the moment he exited through a window.

Five year statute of limitations

“These cases are insanely easy to prosecute,” said Brooks, who used to advise protesters in D.C. on where they could and couldn’t demonstrate.

Brooks said a five-year statute of limitations means prosecutors have only about two years left to bring a criminal case forward against those involved in the Capitol riots.

Investigators seem to be making progress. Hundreds of people across the country have been convicted for their roles in the attack on the Capitol, according to the Associated Press.

"This is a massive investigation. It's the largest criminal investigation that the DOJ has ever done in its history,” said Claire Finkelstein, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

Other rioters from San Diego County who’ve been charged include Joshua Youngerman from Imperial Beach. He used a rope to hoist himself onto a wall and allegedly tweeted, “there is definitely election fraud going on.”

The FBI claimed in court documents Youngerman told a Telegram group chat he would bring knives and other self-defense tools. 

Finkelstein rejected the defense from some rioters who claimed they didn’t know it was illegal to enter the Capitol.

“For all but the most technical of crimes ignorance of the law is no defense."

Some San Diegans sentenced

Most of the January 6th rioters from San Diego are still seeing their cases go through the courts.

But Josiah Hueso’s already been sentenced. The San Diego man had gone on CNN the day of the riots. He was only identified by his first name, but tips led to his arrest.

He didn’t get the 21 days of jail time prosecutors wanted and is now out on three years of supervised release. A judge also ordered him to serve 60 hours of community service and ordered him to pay $500 dollars in restitution.

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The FBI identified Joshua Kaleb Youngerman as the man who climbed up this rope to gain access to the U.S. Capitol during the January 6th riot.

Court documents reviewed by Team 10 show San Diego resident Louis Lawrence Ambrose has also been sentenced to 36 months of probation for his role in the riot and was ordered to pay $500 in restitution.

Philip Weisbecker served 30 days of “intermittent confinement” for storming the Capitol. He had to pay $2,500 in fines and restitution and was sentenced to two years of probation.

Victor Dennison is waiting for his case to be heard by a judge. The FBI arrested him in San Diego last year and told agents he left the Capitol after he heard someone say, “They’re going to start shooting people.”

Most of the cases reviewed by Team 10 show San Diegans have faced misdemeanors relating to trespassing on January 6th.

Brooks said prosecutors have pushed for heavy sentences.

“I mean, people have had sentences that are very long. I think they've gone from some simple cases which were 30 days in jail to other people who are going to spend very long prison sentences.”