One of the four men who participated in on- and off-line anti-government conspiracy and military-style drills with convicted Boogaloo murderer Steven Carrillo, and who conspired to destroy evidence of their communications in the days following Carrillo's killing of two law enforcement officers, has just received the stiffest sentence to date of the group of co-conspirators.
35-year-old Robert Blancas, who styled himself the "1st Lieutenant" of the 1st California Grizzly Scouts — a small militia group formed out of the asinine, internet-born, loosely affiliated "Boogaloo" movement — has been sentenced to 126 months (10.5 years) in federal prison. He pleaded guilty earlier this year to several counts of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to destroy evidence, as well as to a count of enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity, which was a separate but linked case.
"Robert Blancas and his three co-defendants conspired to cover up the murder of a federal officer," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Sean Ragan in a statement. "Not only was Blancas convicted of obstruction of justice, he was also convicted of the heinous crime of enticing a juvenile to make child pornography. Either of these crimes on their own would have been very significant, high-priority cases for the FBI. The broad nature of his criminal offenses demonstrate that Robert Blancas was a threat to society. The combined sentence of greater than ten years in federal prison prevents him from continuing to harm our community."
Blancas, a transient from the Bay Area, and co-conspirators 29-year-old Jessie Rush of Turlock, 23-year-old Simon Ybarra of Los Gatos, and 21-year-old Kenny Miksch of San Lorenzo, were all part of group chats in which they learned of Carrillo's May 29, 2020 killing of federal Protective Services Officer David Underwood, in front of the federal building in Oakland. Carrillo had previously posted messages in a Facebook group suggesting that he and others should use the George Floyd protests going on in Oakland and elsewhere as cover for the murder of federal law enforcement — and he settled on shooting at two security guards outside the federal building from a moving van.
The case of a sixth man, Robert Justus Jr., who turned himself in to the FBI after driving the van, is still pending.
Blancas and the other men also learned of Carrillo's subsequent killing of a sheriff's deputy in Santa Cruz County who attempted to confront him in the days following the Oakland shooting — and they admitted to investigators that they then attempted to destroy evidence of their online communications.
Carrillo pleaded guilty to the killing of 38-year-old Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, in addition to Underwood's killing, for which he's set to serve a life sentence and a 41-year sentence, respectively.
"Blancas and his codefendants admitted to conspiring with other group members to destroy the records of their interactions and communications because they foresaw authorities would investigate and prosecute that Grizzly Scouts member, and admitted that they intended to impair the integrity and availability of the records for use in official proceedings," the DOJ announcement says. "Blancas also destroyed files on Dropbox regarding the Grizzly Scouts that consisted of the group’s rank structure, a non-disclosure agreement requiring members to maintain confidentiality of group materials, a liability release waiver, descriptions of the Grizzly Scouts uniforms, and a scorecard assessing the skills of Grizzly Scouts members in combat, firearms, medical, and other training."
The enticement of a minor charge stems from Blancas's activities in the months before and after the killings, in which he was exchanging text messages and soliciting pornographic images from a 15-year-old girl. Blancas admitted to the feds that he knew she was a minor, and that he received more than one hundred pornographic photographs and videos from the victim and exchanged thousands of messages and at least one video call with her.
Rush, Ybarra and Miksch all previously took pleas and were sentenced — one year for Rush, and six months each for Ybarra and Miksch.
Carrillo is scheduled to appear in court in the Santa Cruz case on Friday, August 26.
Photo of Carrillo's van in Oakland on May 29, 2020 via Dept. of Justice