Ex-cop turned insurrectionist spent his pre-trial time stockpiling 34 guns and building pipe bombs

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The arrest order, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia states: “On June 29, 2021, following a lawfully authorized search of the defendant’s residence, law enforcement discovered that the defendant violated his release conditions by possessing a loaded M4 rifle and a partially-assembled pipe bomb at his home, and by purchasing an arsenal of 34 firearms online and transporting them in interstate commerce while under felony indictment, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(n). Because the defendant has shown utter disregard for the Court’s orders prohibiting his possession of firearms and other weapons during the time he has been on pre-trial release, and because he has further flouted his release conditions through repeated violations of the federal firearms laws, the defendant presents a danger to the community that no release conditions will adequately mitigate.”

According to the The Washington PostJudge G. Michael Harvey’s release conditions included Robertson needing to “relocate” any firearms or “destructive devices or dangerous weapons” within two days of his release. Robertson was given a second chance after “authorities found eight firearms at his Ferrum, Va. home” two days past the time he was supposed to have relocated them. They also found “large amounts of ammunition” in an outbuilding on the property where Robertson lived.

According to prosecutors, while investigating Robertson for the added felony charges of his indictment, the FBI began to find evidence that he was buying and selling firearms, and possibly ammunition, online and shipping them in “interstate commerce.” This act by itself was in violation of 18 U.S. Code § 922 for unlicensed importers, manufacturers, or dealers to “engage in the business of importing, manufacturing, or dealing in firearms, or in the course of such business to ship, transport, or receive any firearm in interstate or foreign commerce.” It’s super not good when you have been released from jail pending a trial by a judge who specifically told you not to even have firearms in your possession.

The FBI got a warrant to go through Robertson’s email correspondence, where they found clear evidence of firearm purchases being negotiated, subsequent searches on Gunbroker.com (an online gun auction site), and numerous orders for firearms made between April and May of this year. All of this evidence led to a search warrant being issued and acted on at Robertson’s home on June 29. “In connection with this search, the FBI not only found evidence that Robertson had amassed an arsenal of 34 firearms through a local FFL in Roanoke, but agents also found a loaded M4 rifle, ammunition, and a partially assembled pipe bomb in Robertson’s home.”

According to the court documents, the FBI found a black box with blue tape on it that had “boobytrap” written on it. Inside of this black box was the making of a pipe bomb, sans explosive powder. Explosive “powder was found nearby in the out-building’s reloading station.” According to the prosecutors, Robertson was served the search warrant at a different location from his home and, though he was reminded he need make no statement as he had representation for the Capitol riots case: “After serving the warrant, the agents told Robertson he was free to leave. Robertson responded that he wanted to make a statement of his own accord. The agents interrupted him, noting that he was represented by counsel in the Capitol riots case. Robertson then stated that if this search warrant related to him buying guns, he had bought them online and hadn’t even picked them up yet.” 

The defense rests? According to prosecutors, the guns are located at a FFL in Roanoke (a location with a Federal Firearms License allowed to engage in the interstate or intrastate sale of firearms). The owner of the FFL told authorities that while Robertson had explained to him that he could not yet pick up the firearms because of his current bond conditions he had come by to handle the guns in person, “as recently as one week ago.”

Here’s the place where the Second Amendment meets madness. There will be people, mostly MAGA people, who will say this is no big deal, but just imagine if a person of color was charged with an illegal trespass at a Walmart, and after being released on bond, purchased 34 guns and was found with a loaded rifle and pipe bomb in his home. Would those Second Amendment patriots kvetch?

Is this all blown out of proportion? According to prosecutors, on June 10, 2021, Robertson posted screen shots of his federal charges in the Capitol riots case, on a forum on Gunbroker.com. Someone in the forum asked if he was proud, in response to which he wrote: “I sure as fuck am.” And while that’s a whatever, insecure masculine response to a thing, he reportedly followed that up by posting this:

I’ve said before. They are trying to teach us a lesson. They have. But its definitely not the intended lesson. I have learned that if you peacefully protest than you will be arrested, fired, be put on a no fly list, have your name smeared and address released by the FBI so every loon in the US can send you hate mail. I have learned very well that if you dip your toe into the Rubicon. . . . cross it. Cross it hard and violent and play for all the marbles.

Prosecutors are asking that Robertson remain in custody pending his trial.

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Roberto Walker
He is an associate editor and works at the political desk. He covers a wide range of news from world politics to local politics.
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