Man convicted of extremist killing of federal officer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A man who destroyed evidence during the investigation into the fatal shooting of a federal officer in California by an extremist militia member was sentenced Monday to 10 and a half years in federal prison, authorities announced.

Robert Blancas, 35, was convicted in federal court in San Francisco of obstructing justice and also of inciting a minor to engage in sexual activity, the US Department of Justice said in a statement.

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A man who destroyed evidence during the investigation into the fatal shooting of a federal officer in California by an extremist militia member was sentenced Monday to 10 and a half years in federal prison, authorities announced.

Robert Blancas, 35, was convicted in federal court in San Francisco of obstructing justice and also of inciting a minor to engage in sexual activity, the US Department of Justice said in a statement.

In a plea deal, the Castro Valley man admitted he was a member of the “Grizzly Scouts” militia linked to the “boogaloo” movement, prosecutors said.

The movement is embraced by a loose network of gun enthusiasts and extremists. Experts say the group started out in alt-right culture on the internet with the belief that there was an impending American civil war.

Blancas and three others have admitted destroying evidence after a federal security guard was killed and another injured while guarding the Oakland federal building during a May 2020 racial justice protest.

A former Air Force sergeant, Steven Carrillo, 33, is serving 41 years in prison for the attack. He also pleaded guilty last month to killing a Santa Cruz County sheriff’s sergeant a week after the attack on the federal building.

In their plea agreements, Blancas and the others said that after learning that Carrillo was involved in the killing of the federal officer, they destroyed communications between members of the Grizzly Scouts “and admitted they had the intent to undermine the integrity and availability of records for use in official proceedings,” the Justice Department statement read.

Carrillo had written in a group chat, “Guys, I offended a fed.” Blancas admitted destroying online group communications, deleting records from his cell phone, and deleting records from a Dropbox account relating to the Grizzly Scouts organization.

Last year, Blancas pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice by destroying records in official process and to destroy those records.

The other three men pleaded guilty to conspiring to destroy evidence and were sentenced to six months in federal prison in May.

On Monday, another judge sentenced Blancas to six months for conspiracy but added an additional 10 years in a sex case that was filed before the conspiracy indictment.

In that case, Blancas pleaded guilty to inciting a minor to engage in sexual activity. In his plea agreement, Blancas said that from around April to September 2020, he asked a 15-year-old girl he met through social media to repeatedly send him pornographic photos and videos of herself.

“Blancas also admitted he knew she was underage when he did it,” the Justice Department statement read.

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