(QUEEN CITY NEWS) — North Carolina served as a training ground for many members of the paramilitary group, The Oath Keepers, in the weeks leading up to the deadly riots at the Capitol on January 6, according to new documents from the Justice Department.
Federal investigators have now released a timeline they say shows members of the Oath Keepers, including the so-far unnamed North Carolina leader, were actively planning the attack for weeks.
Many of them spoke openly about war and bloodshed.
“It will be a bloody and desperate fight. We are going to have a fight. That can’t be avoided,” Stewart Rhodes, the alleged national leader of the Oath Keepers wrote to other members according to the FBI.
Rhodes is one of several members of the Oath Keepers now facing charges of sedition.
In the federal documents, prosecutors lay out weeks of communications between members of the Oath Keepers.
Investigators allege the group, which often recruits former military and law enforcement members, held training sessions in preparation for the events of January 6th.
According to the Justice Department, on December 12, 2020, the North Carolina chapter of the Oath Keepers held a training session that, according to the leader of the chapter, would be focused on: vehicle operations, roadblocks, vehicle recovery, convoy operations, setting up hasty ambushes, and reacting to ambushes.”
Queen City News previously reported that the Justice Department believes as many as 40 Oath Keeper members traveled by bus to Washington D.C. ahead of the riots.
So far, only one North Carolina member of the Oath Keepers has been charged in the riots.
Former High Point Police Officer Laura Steele has pleaded not guilty for her role.
The newly uncovered documents also show that dozens of North Carolina Oath Keepers acted as a so-called Quick Reaction Force, or QRF, and staged an arsenal of guns in a hotel outside of D.C.
On the morning of January 2, 2021, according to prosecutors, one member of the Oath Keepers messaged to others, “good call last night. Lots covered, I’ll get with NC team today and find out QRF location.”
The North Carolina leader is unnamed in the federal documents, but they show the person was heavily involved in the planning. On January 4, the leader was sent maps of D.C. relative to the QRF team’s hotel.
The Justice Department says several more arrests and conspiracy charges are expected.