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Saturday, July 24, 2021

Off-duty California DEA agent arrested for capital riot

by Michael Kunzelman and Jim Mustian | The Associated Press

An off-duty Drug Enforcement Administration agent in Orange County poses for photos while flashing his DEA badge and shotgun outside the US Capitol during the January 6 riots, according to a court filing Tuesday after the agent’s arrest.

A video posted on the Internet showed Mark Sami Ibrahim carrying a flag bearing the words “Liberty or Death” outside the capitol, before a crowd of people broke through a set of barricades, officials said.

Ibrahim, 32, was a probationary employee of the DEA and was on personal leave from the agency when he traveled to Washington on January 6. Several weeks before the riots, he had reported his intention to resign.

Ibrahim was not working as a law-enforcement officer at the Capitol on January 6, but he told investigators after the riots that he was there to help a friend who was asked to document the incident for the FBI. I went.

However, Friend denied this and told investigators that Ibrahim had fabricated a false narrative to “cover his ass,” according to a case summary signed by a senior special agent in the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General.

The OIG agent wrote, ‘According to Ibrahim’s friend, Ibrahim had gone to the rally to promote himself. “Ibrahim was thinking about his next steps after leaving the DEA and wanted the protest ‘Liberty Tavern’ to be his platform for launching a political podcast and cigar brand.”

Ibrahim admitted he was at the Capitol on January 6 with a relative and friend, but denied that he displayed or exposed his DEA badge and firearm, despite photographic evidence to the contrary, officials say.

Ibrahim was arrested in Washington on Tuesday on charges that included entering or remaining with a firearm in a restricted building or grounds and making false statements when he denied that he displayed his badge or firearm.

Defense lawyer Darren Ritchie said Ibrahim did not participate in the riots, engage in any violence or attempt to enter the Capitol that day. Ritchie said he also remained “sincere and willing to ally” with the authorities.

“This indictment is the result of a flawed attempt to portray a specific narrative through conjecture, political pressure and photographs taken completely out of context. Mr Ibrahim firmly believes that truth will always prevail,” Richie said in a statement.

US Magistrate Judge Zia Farooqui on Tuesday ordered Ibrahim’s release after appearing in preliminary court. Prosecutors did not seek his pre-trial detention.

A DEA spokesperson did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Tuesday.

The DEA for months declined to say whether any of its agents had attended the rally, saying it could not comment on “specific personnel matters.”

“If we receive an indication of an employee engaging in misconduct, it is the policy of the DEA to immediately refer the matter to the appropriate authorities for review,” the agency told the AP in January.

Ibrahim denied breaking any laws, telling Fox News in March that he “never set foot on the stairs of the Capital Building.” He said he went to the rally with his brother, an FBI agent, who faced “no adverse action” for participating.

Ibrahim told host Tucker Carlson, “When the crowd started to become hostile to law enforcement, I myself was doing law enforcement, I started documenting everything,” he later gave the material to the FBI “so that those criminals would Justice has to be faced.”

“I wanted to help law enforcement as much as possible that day. I didn’t really think anything about it,” he said.

After flying to Los Angeles, Ibrahim said, he was stripped of his badge and gun and “fired after being suspended for two months for performance issues.”

Nation World News Deskhttps://nationworldnews.com
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