Four California militia members indicted in alleged plot to thwart murder probe

WASHINGTON, April 9 (Reuters) - Four members of a militia group associated with the right-wing boogaloo movement were indicted on Friday in an alleged plot to obstruct an investigation into the shooting of two federal agents in California last May, the U.S. Justice Department said.

The indictment, returned by a federal grand jury in San Francisco, alleged that the four conspired to destroy communications and other records related to the murder and attempted murder of two federal security officers in Oakland, the department said in a statement.

The accused men are Jessie Rush, 29, of Turlock, California, Robert Blancas, 33, a transient in the San Francisco Bay area, Simon Ybarra, 23, of Los Gatos, California, and Kenny Miksch, 21, of San Lorenzo, California.

All are members of the militia groups 1st Detachment and 1st California Grizzly Scouts, the DOJ said.

They connected by Facebook and other social media and have gathered in person for firearms and other training, a release from the DOJ said.

The far-right boogaloo ideology is a loose affiliation of militia groups and extremists whose followers see the U.S. government as the enemy bent on confiscating their guns that they believe they need in the event of a civil war, a violent uprising or collapse of society.

The men are accused of multiple counts of destroying and trying to destroy phone records and deleting internet and other records and trying to thwart a federal investigation.

All remained in federal custody on Friday pending further court proceedings, the DOJ said.

Two other men, also connected with the boogaloo movement, have previously been charged with murder in the fatal ambush of Federal Protective Service officer David Patrick Underwood, who was gunned down at his guard post outside Oakland's U.S. courthouse on May 29.

Reporting by Tim Ahmann; Writing by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Leslie Adler

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