Off-duty DEA agent arrested on Capitol riot charges
An off-duty Drug Enforcement Administration agent posed for photographs in which he flashed his DEA badge and firearm outside the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot, according to a court filing Tuesday following the agent’s arrest.
A video posted on the internet also showed Mark Sami Ibrahim carrying a flag bearing the words “Liberty or Death” outside the Capitol, about 12 minutes before a mob of people pulled apart a nearby set of barricades, authorities said.
Ibrahim, of Orange County, California, was a probationary employee of the DEA and was on personal leave from the agency when he traveled to Washington on Jan. 6. Several weeks before the riot, he had given notice of his intention to resign.
Also on Tuesday, a third person pleaded guilty to participating in a plot for members of the anti-government Oath Keepers group to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6. The judge who accepted Caleb Berry’s guilty plea didn’t immediately schedule his sentencing hearing.
The presence of law enforcement at the riot has been troubling for the police who were attacked and beaten. The DEA agent is among at least 30 officers in 12 states who are being scrutinized for their behavior in the District of Columbia or face criminal charges for participating in the riot. Ex-military participated, too.
Ibrahim wasn’t working as a law-enforcement officer at the Capitol on Jan. 6, but he told investigators after the riot that he was there to help a friend who had been asked to document the event for the FBI.
The friend denied that, however, and told investigators that Ibrahim had concocted the false story to “cover his ass,” according to a case summary signed by senior special agent with the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General.
“According to Ibrahim’s friend, Ibrahim went to the rally in order to promote himself,” the OIG agent wrote. “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 acknowledged that he was at the Capitol on Jan. 6 but denied that he displayed or exposed his DEA badge and firearm there despite the photographic evidence to the contrary, authorities say.