Ex-Cop Jailed Ahead of Capitol Riot Trial After Purchasing Nearly 3 Dozen Guns, Ammo

A former police officer from Virginia accused of ordering guns after he was charged with participating in the January 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol has been jailed by a federal judge ahead of his trial.

Thomas Robertson, who was a Rocky Mount police officer, was found to have violated the terms of his pretrial release by purchasing 34 firearms and ammunition, according to court documents. He attempted to disguise his ammunition purchase by mislabeling a Venmo transaction to the gun dealer.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper also rejected Robertson's explanation for the purchases, which he claimed were just World War II collectables. FBI agents discovered the cache of weapons in a search of Robertson's home, and a resulting government inventory showed many of the firearms are recent vintage military-style assault weapons, including M4 shotguns, Cooper said.

"Here, a reasonable person could draw the inference that Robertson acted with consciousness of guilt in ordering firearms and ammunition for delivery to the gun dealer. It appears that Robertson may have attached the label 'Wedding Photos' to a Venmo transaction that was actually for ammunition, suggesting an effort to avoid detection," the judge wrote.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

U.S. Capitol Gaurds
U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper jailed former Virginia police officer Thomas Robertson ahead of his trial for participating in the January 6 Capitol riot. National Guard soldier head to the east front of the U.S. Capitol from the Capitol Visitors Center on January 17 in Washington, D.C. Samuel Corum/Getty Images

A gun dealer in Roanoke, Virginia, told the FBI Robertson had 34 guns waiting for him to pick up and he had recently visited the store to handle them.

The town of Rocky Mount fired Robertson and a second officer, Jacob Fracker, accused of storming the Capitol. Robertson has pleaded not guilty to a charge of obstructing an official proceeding.

Robertson was freed after his initial arrest but arrested again July 7 after prosecutors urged the judge to revoke his pretrial release.

The judge noted Robertson is not accused of engaging in any violence on January 6 but said the "strong weight of the evidence" shows he participated in the Capitol riot.

"Since that incident, both before and after his indictment, Robertson has expressed pride in his role and enthusiasm for the prospect of future political violence," Cooper wrote.

Capitol Breach Fence
FBI agents discovered the cache of weapons in a search of Thomas Robertson's home, finding nearly 3 dozen guns and ammo. Workers remove the fence surrounding the U.S. Capitol building, after six months was erected, following the Janury 6 riot at the Capitol, July 10 in Washington, D.C. Jose Luis Magana/AP Photo