Ex-DEA agent from California charged in U.S. Capitol insurrection
A former DEA agent from Orange County has been charged with taking part in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the latest law enforcement member linked to the deadly uprising.
Mark Sami Ibrahim, 33, was arrested Tuesday in Washington, D.C., and charged with entering the Capitol grounds with a firearm and lying to federal law enforcement officials, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Court documents describe Ibrahim as living in Orange County, and public records suggest he once lived in Anaheim.
Multiple photos show Ibrahim posing with his Drug Enforcement Administration badge and gun on his hip as he stands among others waving pro-Trump banners, according to court documents made public Tuesday.
A broad spectrum of extremists — including members of the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and Three Percenters — joined with hundreds of former President Trump’s most ardent supporters on Jan. 6 to storm the Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of President Biden’s election, after Trump spent months promoting unfounded claims of election theft. More than 150 officers reported injuries, some permanent, with three officers dying in the aftermath of the melee.
Why so many military veterans and former and current police officers support — and take part in — far-right groups and protests, including the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
It is unclear if Ibrahim actually entered the Capitol, but photos and cellphone records confirm the DEA agent was in areas far beyond the barricades torn down by Trump’s supporters.
In one picture, Ibrahim can be seen smiling with his hand resting on his firearm while standing next to a man holding an American flag and a pitchfork.
Ibrahim had announced his attentions to resign from the DEA several weeks before the insurrection and was on personal leave at the time of the riot, according to court filings.
Calls to the DEA seeking comment were not immediately returned. Ibrahim’s defense attorney, Darren Richie, described the charges against his client as an overreach.
“Mr. Ibrahim played no role in any riot. He never committed any violence, attempted to enter any buildings nor induced or promoted others to do so. Further, Mr. Ibrahim remained honest and voluntarily cooperative with authorities. Mr. Ibrahim has dedicated his entire life, with perfection, to the service of this country and its citizens whether through his military or law enforcement capacities,” Richie wrote in an e-mail to The Times. “This indictment results from conjecture, political pressure and a flawed attempt to paint a specific narrative through pictures taken wholly out of context.”
J. Thomas Manger, a law-enforcement veteran who has run large departments in Maryland and Virginia, has been selected as U.S. Capitol Police chief.
In late March, Ibrahim told Fox News host Tucker Carlson he had been fired by the DEA and claimed he had attended the riot alongside his brother, an FBI agent. Ibrahim had also been involved in a group chat with at least five other law enforcement officers on the day of the insurrection, according to court filings.
After Ibrahim began posting pictures that day, one of the other officers sent an alarmed message in the group chat.
“Question Mark, you are carrying your duty weapon and your badge/creds?” the message asked. “I need to know this mark.”
The court filing did not disclose information about any other law enforcement personnel Ibrahim might have been in contact with that day.
Federal investigators interviewed Ibrahim roughly one week before he appeared on Carlson’s show. In that interview, Ibrahim told investigators he traveled to the Capitol on Jan. 6 at the request of a friend who “had been asked by the FBI to document the event.” He denied posing for pictures displaying his federal law enforcement credentials or firearm.
But in a separate interview, the friend, whose name was not disclosed in court documents, said Ibrahim “crafted this story in an effort to ‘cover his ass,’” and denied being dispatched to the Capitol by the FBI.
“According to Ibrahim’s friend, Ibrahim went to the rally in order to promote himself,” read an affidavit written by the Department of Justice investigator who interviewed Ibrahim. “Ibrahim had been thinking about his next move after leaving the DEA and wanted the protests to be his stage for launching a ‘Liberty Tavern’ political podcast and cigar brand.”
Ibrahim was described as a “probationary employee” of the DEA, meaning he had been hired only recently.
Dozens of active or retired military and law enforcement personnel either attended the riot or have been criminally charged in connection with the uprising, raising concerns about the pervasiveness of far-right extremism and belief in conspiracy theories in police circles. Several Los Angeles police officers and sheriff’s deputies also attended the riot, but none have been criminally charged.
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