LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — There is no evidence a man arrested in Las Vegas and charged for his involvement in the U.S. Capitol riot voted in the November 2020 presidential election, an I-Team investigation revealed.
The FBI arrested Ronald “Ronnie” Sandlin and Nathaniel “Nathan” DeGrave on Jan. 29 outside of DeGrave’s apartment near the Las Vegas Strip. The FBI had surveilled DeGrave’s apartment and noticed Sandlin’s truck parked outside, documents filed in January said.
Sandlin was seen on video smoking weed inside the Capitol on Jan. 6. He is heard on the video saying, “People are smoking weed in here. Thank you patriot. We made history in here,” according to court documents.
DeGrave voted in the election, Clark County officials confirmed earlier this month. But no community where Sandlin is known to have resided, including Las Vegas, can find a record of him voting this past presidential cycle, the I-Team found.
Sandlin had written on social media in January that he had planned to drive to Washington from Memphis, Tennessee, for former President Donald Trump’s rally, court documents said.
“Who is going to Washington D.C. on the 6th of January?” a post provided to authorities said. “I’m going to be there to show support for our president and to do my part to stop the steal and stand behind Trump when he decides to cross the Rubicon. If you are a patriot I believe it’s your duty to be there.” According to court documents, a post from Sandlin said he, DeGrave and a third man were asking for money for the trip through a GoFundMe page.
Investigators wrote Sandlin lived in the Memphis area, and a court-appointed lawyer confirmed to the I-Team that he was living with his parents for several months late last year.
Records obtained by the I-Team indicate Sandlin lived in the Long Beach, California, area before moving to Las Vegas. On social media, Sandlin indicates he lived in the Las Vegas area, and several posts show him promoting a business in the area.
A person with the same name and same birth year was registered to vote in Clark County, but did not vote in the 2020 election, a spokesman confirmed. Sandlin was not registered to vote in two counties in the Memphis area, including the county where his parents live, the I-Team found. He was registered to vote in Los Angeles County, but his status was changed from inactive to canceled in 2019, a county spokesman said.
The I-Team found two traffic tickets given in Nevada and cited to a person with the same name as Sandlin in 2018 and 2020. In both cases, the driver was in the same car.
In 2018, a Ronald Sandlin was cited for driving with an expired California driver’s license and expired license plates. In 2020, a Ronald Lawrence Sandlin was cited for driving without a valid license and for holding a cell phone to his face while driving.
Several other alleged Capitol rioters did not vote in the election, citing mistrust in the system. Former President Donald Trump had also told supporters their votes may not count, saying the election would be “rigged.” In September, he suggested voters should vote twice to test North Carolina’s mail-in ballot system.
Dr. Rebecca Gill, an associate professor of political science at UNLV, said it is not surprising those who felt the need to riot at the Capitol did not vote.
“While on the face of it, it seems completely absurd, it can make sense to people if you consider what kind of news environment they have been in and what their ongoing relationship probably is with the government,” Gill said.
During a detention hearing in federal court earlier this month, Sandlin asked the judge to “have mercy on” him. The judge noted Sandlin owes $500,000 in back taxes.
Sandlin faces charges of:
- Assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers
- Civil disorder
- Obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting
- Entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds
- Disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds
- Disorderly conduct in a Capitol building
- Impeding passage through the Capitol grounds or buildings
- Act of physical violence in the Capitol grounds or buildings
- Parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building