Federal authorities say Blas Fabian Santillan stood on the Capitol steps on Jan. 6 and screamed at the crowd to storm the building, bragging that he had already done so.
“I’m the only one that was willing to kick that door. Who else is willing to storm in there?” Santillan, 26, said, according to the criminal complaint which quotes a video of the incident. “You do not know what freedom is. ... Freedom is doing what you want.”
The FBI arrested Santillan Monday at his home in Clayton, about 100 miles northeast of Atlanta in Rabun County, on a four-court criminal indictment. He was charged by a federal magistrate judge the same day, assigned a federal public defender and released on his own recognizance.
Under the terms of his release, he cannot possess firearms or other weapons; has to check in with a parole officer regularly; and cannot leave North Georgia except for work. He is specifically forbidden from traveling to Washington for any reason other than a court appearance.
He is the 15th Georgian arrested as part of the nationwide investigation into the insurrection. He did not respond to requests for comment from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Santillan has been on the FBI’s radar since Jan. 8 when agents received a tip that he had allegedly posted videos of himself inside the Capitol on his Snapchat account. That tipster had gone to high school with Santillan, and a second person who talked to the FBI worked with him. Both said they saw the videos he allegedly posted from inside the Capitol.
The coworker said the last video they saw, on Snapchat on Jan. 6, showed Santillan walking down a Washington street carrying a chair and a pole and saying, “I got a chair, a pole and a book.”
Acting on the tips, the FBI found “numerous photos and videos” posted by other rioters that captured Santillan in various parts of the Capitol building, including just outside the Rotunda doors where he allegedly shouted at the crowd.
While some Georgians arrested for taking part in the Capitol riot face the prospect of years in prison, such an outcome appears unlikely for Santilla, who is charged with four misdemeanor counts. If convicted, he could face a sentence of up to six months plus fines.