Former police chief and American Phoenix Project founder indicted on conspiracy charges related to January 6, alongside 5 men prosecutors say he recruited to far-right group

Capitol breach
In this Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol Police officers hold off rioters loyal to President Donald Trump at the Capitol in Washington.

  • The ex-La Habra police chief and American Phoenix Project founder was indicted on Jan. 6 conspiracy charges.
  • Alan Hostetter and 5 men from the far-right group allegedly plotted and broke into the Capitol.
  • Hostetter organized “Stop the Steal” rallies in Orange County a prelude to the attack on Jan. 6.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A former California police chief, who founded a far-right group, and five other men who joined the group were indicted on conspiracy charges related to the January 6 storming of the US Capitol, according to the AP.

New court documents unsealed on Thursday revealed that Alan Hostetter, the former La Habra, California, police chief, started a far-right group called the American Phoenix Project, which organized anti-COVID lockdown protests and amplified former President Donald Trump’s lies about election fraud in the 2020 election.

Five other Southern California men were charged alongside Hostetter and were identified as members of the group in the court documents. Prosecutors alleged that some of the men had ties to the Three Percenters, another extremist group.

Russell Taylor, Erik Scott Warner, Felipe Antonio “Tony” Martinez, Derek Kinnison, and Ronald Mele were the group members also indicted on multiple counts, including conspiracy charges to obstruct the election certification.

All six men were also charged with being on restricted grounds or building of the Capitol; Kinnison and Warner were charged with destroying evidence; and Taylor faces a charge for bringing a knife to the Capitol. All were also charged with obstructing an official proceeding and obstructing law enforcement during civil disorder.

The AP reported that Hostetter was the lead organizer of several pro-Trump events in the build-up to the January 6 insurrection. Namely, Hostetter organized a “Stop the Steal” rally in Huntington Beach on December 12.

“And he must be allowed to finish this historic job of cleaning out the corruption in the cesspool known as Washington, DC. The enemies and traitors of America both foreign and domestics must be held accountable. And they will. There must be long prison terms, while execution is the just punishment for the ringleaders of this coup,” Hostetter reportedly said at the event, according to the indictment.

According to the indictment, from early November onwards the six men also communicated via a Telegram chat titled “The California Patriots-DC Brigade,” which hosted over 30 members. Before the insurrection, one of the indicted men reportedly asked group members if they had police or military background or “special skills relevant to our endeavors.”

Russell Taylor, one of the indicted six, wrote in the Telegram chat on December 29, saying, “I personally want to be on the front steps and be one of the first ones to breach the doors!” as members were coordinating when to march over from Trump’s rally.

In the documents, prosecutors said that on January 1, Hostetter wrote in the group that, “things are going to come a head in the US in the next several days.”

Hostetter’s attorney denies that he entered the Capitol. It was not clear when the indicted militia members will appear in court.– reaching out now

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