A New Mexico county official and founder of the group Cowboys for Trump who had vowed to return to Washington after last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol to place a flag on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk has been arrested Sunday by the FBI.
Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin was arrested on charges of illegally entering the U.S. Capitol.
According to court documents, Griffin told investigators that he was “caught up” in the crowd, which pushed its way through the barricades and entered the restricted area of the U.S. Capitol, but he said he did not enter the building and instead remained on the U.S. Capitol steps.
A video posted to Griffin’s personal Facebook page shows Griffin in the restricted areas, according to the affidavit.
Griffin did not immediately respond to phone or text messages seeking comment.
On Thursday, Griffin said he planned to travel with firearms to Washington, D.C., for Biden’s inauguration.
FBI special agents said Griffin told them that “he hopes a change in leadership can be accomplished ‘without a single shot being fired,’ but noted that there was ‘no option that was off the table for the sake of freedom,'” according to the affidavit.
“I’m gonna be there on Jan. 20 … and I’m gonna take a stand for our country and for our freedoms,” Griffin said during a meeting of the Otero County Board of Commissioners.
“I’m gonna leave either tonight or tomorrow. I’ve got a .357 Henry Big Boy rifle lever action that I’ve got in the trunk of my car and I’ve got a .357 single action revolver, the Colt Ruger Vaquero that I’ll have underneath the front seat on my right side and I will embrace my Second Amendment,” he said.
Sunday, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas called for Griffin’s resignation via Twitter.
“I am demanding that Couy Griffin immediately resign from the Otero County Commission or my office will seek his removal,” Balderas said.
Associated Press journalist Morgan Lee contributed to this report.