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News / Clark County News

Yacolt man pleads guilty to charge in connection with Jan. 6 Capitol riot

Benjamin John Silva is the third person from Clark County convicted in connection with the 2021 Capitol riot

By Shari Phiel, Columbian staff writer
Published: April 8, 2024, 12:52pm

A Yacolt man pleaded guilty Friday in federal court to a felony charge of civil disorder for his participation in the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol and disruption of a joint session of Congress convened to confirm the 2020 presidential election results.

Benjamin John Silva, 36, entered the plea in the U.S. District Court of Columbia. He is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 17.

According to court documents, Silva was seen near an entrance on the Lower West Terrace, also referred to as the tunnel, just before 3 p.m., according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.

Once inside the tunnel, Silva made his way to the front of a crowd of rioters confronting an established police line. Silva and others in the tunnel then began moving back and forth, applying force against police officers guarding the entrance to the Capitol building, according to court records.

“Silva participated in this effort, adding his force, body and momentum in a coordinated ‘heave-ho’ effort,” the news release states, adding Silva also leaned into the line of officers and put his hand on the riot shield of one officer.

Silva then spoke with an officer while an individual behind him sprayed the line of officers with a chemical irritant. As Silva continued to push toward the police line, an officer put his hand on Silva’s forearm in an attempt to push him back. Silva and others continued to press forward against the police line, even as some rioters began leaving the tunnel. Silva eventually made his way out of the tunnel at 3:07 p.m., the news release states.

Agents from the FBI arrested Silva in Oregon on July 25, 2023.

Two other Clark County men have been convicted in connection with the riot.

Marc Anthony Bru, 44, was sentenced in January to six years in prison after a federal judge found the Vancouver-based Proud Boy guilty in October of seven charges, including two felonies. Prosecutors said Bru marched on the Capitol with other Proud Boys members and later entered the building through an emergency exit. He made his way to the then-empty Senate chamber, where he took celebratory photos, according to a Department of Justice news release.

Jeffrey Grace, 64, of Battle Ground was sentenced in August to 75 days in federal prison for unlawfully entering the Capitol. He had pleaded guilty in April 2023 to entering and remaining in a restricted building or ground. Prosecutors argued Grace was a “probate” member of the Proud Boys and was among the first wave of rioters to enter the Capitol. His son, Jeremy Grace, was sentenced to 21 days in prison for the same crime, court records show.

To date, more than 1,350 people have been charged in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the Capitol. The investigation remains ongoing.

Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.