Despite a judge’s pretrial ban, Robertson bought $50,000 worth of guns from Jan. to July, prosecutors claim.
WASHINGTON D.C.- Thomas Robertson could go back into federal custody this week. As part of that push, prosecutors released more details about Robertson’s alleged gun ban violations Monday, claiming that even after an FBI raid on his home, the Franklin County resident bought more weapons.
The temporary decision came as a result of an FBI investigation. Robertson and Jacob Fracker both face federal charges in connection with the Jan. 6 attack. In order to stay free until their trial, Judge Christopher Cooper outlined three rules they had to follow. First, both former Rocky Mount officers had to turn over their passports and stay within the Western District of Virginia. Second, they couldn’t join any type of public assembly or protest. Finally, they couldn’t possess any firearms or explosives. According to court documents and as we detailed previously, it’s that last part proving problematic.
In June, FBI agents executed a search warrant on Robertson’s email and found he purchased 14 guns between April 12 and May 15. On June 29, a similar search warrant found Robertson had 34 guns at Tactical Operations Inc. in Roanoke, waiting to be picked up. Now they claim the number of purchases keeps going up.
A Question of Possession
In addition to the 34 guns at Tactical Operations on June 29, FBI agents were notified that “an additional three firearms were received by [Tactical Operations] between June 29, 2021 and July 1, 2021,” Monday’s filing says. They also found four silencers from the material seized at Robertson’s home. US Attorney Channing Phillips says in the filing that Robertson spent $50,000 between Jan. 20 and July 2 on the 37 guns alone. Also, employees at Tactical Operations “confirmed the defendant possessed the firearms and handled them” during his pretrial release.
Beyond the guns, Phillips also wrote that Robertson purchased a steady supply of ammunition. “From March 2021 through May 2021, on Gunbroker.com, the Defendant purchased over 1,000 armor-piercing rounds,” Phillips wrote. “On a single day in February, he ordered 46 M4 magazines, each capable of holding 30 rounds of ammunition. The following day, he ordered 100 M4 magazines.”
Previously, Robertson’s attorneys claimed he hadn’t violated the judge’s order as he didn’t “possess” the weapons. He also didn’t physically cause them to be shipped. Aside from testimony given at Tactical Operations, Phillips points out in Monday’s filing that the US Supreme Court has made it clear you don’t have to physically ship something to be connected to it.
“The Supreme Court has opined shipping and transporting firearms, as used in other sections within 18 U.S.C. § 922, includes causing their shipment or transport,” Phillips wrote.
What About The M4 Rifle?
During that June 29 raid of Robertson’s home, FBI agents found a loaded M4 rifle in Robertson’s bedroom. In their filing last week, Robertson’s attorneys said the gun belonged to his son, who had come by to pick up ammunition before going hunting. Again, federal prosecutors tell a different story.
“During the search of the Defendant’s premises, law enforcement interviewed the Defendant’s son, and invited him to collect his personal effects,” Phillips wrote. “The defendant’s son agreed to do so, and gathered his belongings from a different room than that where the M4 rifle was located.”
At that point, one FBI agent told Robertson’s son if there were guns he owned in the house, he should speak up.
“Yeah, my gun is in the truck,” Robertson’s son replied, according to Phillips. “I have a concealed carry permit I can show you guys. It’s in my room.”
He then took the agent to his room, grabbed his wallet and showed the permit.
“After finding the M4 rifle in the Defendant’s bedroom, law enforcement also asked the Defendant’s son if the gun was his, and he declined to provide any information about it,” Phillips wrote.
The Story Changes A Bit
In Robertson’s statements to the media and his attorneys’ July 4 filing, they claim he did nothing wrong on Jan. 6. They claim Robertson and Fracker were told they could go into the Capitol building by Capitol Police, given bottles of water and allowed to look around. In the government’s statement of facts, Vincent Velez, special agent with the Capitol Police, pointed out several contradictions in that argument.
Robertson and Fracker couldn’t enter the Capitol legally, Veloz pointed out.
“At that time and date, the United States Capitol was on lockdown,” Veloz wrote. “The defendants’ presence inside was without lawful authority.”
Veloz also referred to Robertson’s social media posts, specifically one left after the attack.
“CNN and the Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem and not some random small business,” Robertson wrote. “The Left rioted all Summer and just burned their own neighborhoods, assaulted numerous civilians, and destroyed and looted small family owned stores. The Right IN ONE DAY (without weapons) took the f***ing US Capitol. Keep poking us.”
Veloz questioned how Robertson could both claim to be attacking the government and visiting the Capitol legally.
“Robertson made these claims notwithstanding his previous posts that he had “attacked the government” and “took the f****** Capitol,” Veloz wrote.
Former Rocky Mount Officers Face Four Charges
Robertson previously served as an Army infantryman before joining the Rocky Mount Police Department. Fracker meanwhile was still an active duty National Guard member on Jan. 6. After a town investigation, both men were terminated in January by Rocky Mount.
A federal grand jury indicted both men on four charges in February. That includes one count each of entering and remaining in a restricted building, along with disorderly conduct in the Capitol. Also, obstruction of an official proceeding, along with disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building.
Originally, both men were supposed to be back in court in August. Instead, Robertson goes before the judge this Wednesday. At that point, Cooper decides if he remains free or goes into custody until trial.
Brian Carlton is Dogwood’s managing editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.