Two men arrested in US over Google searches following riots: ‘Is it illegal to enter the Capitol?’

Two men accused of storming the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 were arrested last week after their Google searches and the information they shared on Facebook allegedly incriminated them.

Washington’s Bryan Raymond Jones and Patrick John King face four counts. These include entering and remaining in a restricted building, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building, and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in the Capitol building, according to the lawsuit filed in US District Court in Columbia.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested Mr. Jones and Mr. King after an anonymous tipster, who attended the same middle school as the men, said he saw a photo on Facebook of the two “smoking marijuana in the US Capitol.”

After the tip, investigators identified men in both surveillance footage and open source photos showing Mr Jones and Mr King entering the Capitol amid a crowd of other rioters.

“Recordings provided by Verizon Wireless as part of a court case identified cell phone numbers registered with King and Jones. Records also showed that King and Jones both used their phones while in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021,” the indictment documents said.

The duo have also conducted multiple searches on Google related to the crime of entering the US Capitol since the evening of January 6, 2021.

“Examples of searched phrases were: ‘Is it illegal to enter the Capitol’, ‘US Capitol facial recognition’, ‘Unlawful entry fee’, ‘Legal definition of ‘violation’, ‘DC police release photos of people who Capitol’ and several others broke in,” authorities said.

Another anonymous tipster, who owns a store near where the men live, told investigators a customer pointed to television coverage of the attack this week and said one of his family members was “involved in it” and “went inside.” “. Capitol.

Delta and United Airlines travel records also confirmed that the two men traveled from Seattle, Washington to Baltimore, Maryland on January 5, 2021 and returned on January 7.

Mr King had also sent several messages on Facebook saying he and Jones went to the Capitol and “smoked weed and shit” and “been part of storming the riot police”. He had also expressed concerns about being arrested for his participation.

In two videos in Mr King’s Facebook recordings, investigators found him emerging from the Capitol during the siege, and in another he appeared to be smoking cannabis in the building’s crowded halls.

So far, authorities have arrested more than 800 people in connection with the US Capitol riots, and over 200 have pleaded guilty.

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