Proud Boys member among the latest in wave of arrests over Capitol riots

FILE PHOTO: Members of the far-right group Proud Boys make 'OK' hand gestures indicating "white power" as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building to protest against the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart/File Photo

By Sarah N. Lynch and Brad Heath

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The FBI on Wednesday arrested a Florida-based member of the right-wing Proud Boys group for his alleged role in breaching the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the Justice Department said.

Joseph Randall Biggs, 37, is due to make his initial appearance in a federal court in Orlando on charges of corruptly obstructing an official proceeding before Congress, unlawful entry, and disorderly conduct.

He is the latest person in a growing number of people with ties to the Proud Boys to face charges surrounding the attack.

According to the criminal complaint, the FBI said Biggs actively encouraged members to travel to Washington, D.C., and communicated directly with the group’s leader Enrique Tarrio. Tarrio was arrested prior to the riots on charges of destruction of property and possession of a firearm magazine.

The FBI said that Biggs and fellow Proud Boy Dominic Pezzola can be seen in video footage entering the Capitol, with Pezzola breaking a window. Later, Biggs tells the camera “this is awesome,” according to the complaint.

Pezzola, who was arrested on Jan. 15, also faces charges.

More than 100 people have been arrested so far in connection with the Capitol riots, a figure prosecutors expect will grow significantly as the FBI continues to analyze more than 200,000 photos and videos.

On Tuesday, prosecutors alleged that three members of the Oath Keepers militia had conspired to breach the Capitol, and released text messages which made reference to trapping members of Congress in the tunnels beneath the Capitol and gassing them.

Prosecutors are also focused on tracking down people who assaulted police or members of the press.

Patrick Edward McCaughey III, who was pictured in a video in which a Washington, D.C., police officer was pinned with a riot shield, is due in federal court in Manhattan on Wednesday on charges of assaulting police.

McCaughey can be heard in the video telling officers to not resist the rioters, according to the criminal complaint.

“You see me. Just go home. Talk to your buddies and go home,” he allegedly said.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Brad Heath; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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