Federal authorities announced the arrest of two additional people from North Carolina in connection to the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.
Laura Steele, 52, of Thomasville, North Carolina was taken into custody by Federal agents on Wednesday in Greensboro. She, along with five other individuals, are charged as co-defendant in a preexisting case of the United States v. Thomas Caldwell, Donovan Crowl, and Jessica Watkins.
The superseding indictment alleges that Steele and eight other members of the Oath keepers donned paramilitary gear and joined with Watkins and Crowl in a military-style “stack” formation that marched up the center steps on the east side of the U.S. Capitol, breached the door at the top, and then stormed the building.
Steele is charged with one count of conspiring to commit an offense against the United States, to corruptly obstruct, influence, or impede an official proceeding, one count of depredation against federal government property, and unlawful entry, disorderly conduct, or violent conduct in restricted buildings or grounds.
The case is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Counterterrorism Section of the DOJ’s National Security Division with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Middle District of Florida, the Middle District of North Carolina, and the Southern District of Ohio. The superseding indictment is the result of an ongoing investigation by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Jacksonville Field Office, Tampa Field Office, Charlotte Field Office, and Cincinnati Field Office.
Federal authorities also arrested Lewis Easton Cantwell, 35, of Sylva, North Carolina, who appeared in federal court Friday in Asheville. He’s accused of storming the capitol, destroying property, refusing to leave and interfering with police.
The officials charges as listed as Civil disorder; Obstruction of an official proceeding; Entering and remaining in a restricted building and grounds; Disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building and grounds; Disorderly and disruptive conduct in a Capitol building and grounds; and Parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.
A judge told Cantwell that he could face up 28 years in prison for the charges, and if he was found to be in possession of a weapon while storming the Capitol, that maximum time could be increased.
Cantwell is the fifth person from North Carolina charged with participating in the deadly Capitol riots, leaving five people dead including a U.S. Capitol Police officer.