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Washington man faces federal charges for alleged involvement in Capitol riot

Joseph Zlab was arrested in Everett Thursday on charges relating to his alleged involvement in the U.S. Capitol Riot on Jan. 6.
Credit: FBI
Joseph Elliot Zlab walks through the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

EVERETT, Wash. — A man from Washington state is facing federal charges for his alleged involvement in the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6.

Joseph Zlab was arrested in Everett Thursday by the FBI on charges of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, according to a criminal complaint filed in Washington D.C. 

A man matching Zlab's description was captured on video taken at the riot wearing a red baseball cap and a red jacket holding a yellow "Don't Tread on Me" flag, according to charging documents. 

On Jan. 16, an anonymous tipster contacted the FBI stating they knew Zlab was in Washington D.C. on the day of the riot. The tipster was able to identify Zlab from a photograph taken inside the Capitol building, according to documents.

An investigator found the website for Zlab's business based in Everett which included a picture of him. An FBI agent was able to reach Zlab on the phone, who confirmed he was in Washington D.C. for former President Trump's speech and participated in the march to the U.S. Capitol. Zlab told the FBI agent he circled the Capitol building taking pictures, according to documents.

When he was asked if he entered the Capitol building on Jan. 6 while congress was certifying the election results, Zlab said he thought he "needed an attorney because he did not want to say anything incriminating," according to charging documents.  

The FBI was able to confirm with Alaska Airlines that Zlab traveled to Washington D.C. on Jan. 5, and caught a flight back to Seattle on Jan. 7. 

The FBI also obtained footage of Zlab allegedly entering the Capitol building, entering the Rotunda, entering the House Appropriations Room and other locations inside the Capitol building, according to charging documents. 

On April 8, The FBI obtained a search warrant for Zlab's Gmail account which was linked to a phone number Zlab gave the FBI. Agents found pictures in a folder titled "January 6, 2021" of the inside of the U.S. Capitol. The FBI also found a picture stored on the account of the door to the House Appropriations Room. 

The FBI went on to conduct surveillance of Zlab on April 21 which they used to confirm he was the man caught on surveillance video in the U.S. Capitol building wearing the red baseball cap with the yellow flag, according to charging documents. 

Others from Washington state who have faced federal charges in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol breach are Mark Leffingwell of Seattle; Ethan Nordean, also known as Rufio Panman, of Renton; Taylor Johnatakis of Kingston; and Jeffrey Grace of Battle Ground. Nordean is also the Seattle-chapter "Sergeant of Arms" of the Proud Boys group. 


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