Florida Woman Arrested on Felony and Misdemeanor Charges for Actions During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
WASHINGTON — A Florida woman has been arrested on felony and misdemeanor charges related to her conduct during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Her actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the 2020 presidential election.
Barbara Balmaseda, 23, of Miami Lakes, Florida, is charged in a criminal complaint filed in the District of Columbia with a felony offense of obstruction of an official proceeding and misdemeanor offenses of 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 or grounds, and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.
Balmaseda was arrested on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023, in Miami Lakes and made her initial appearance in the Southern District of Florida.
According to the allegations contained in court documents, Balmaseda traveled from Florida to Washington, D.C., to protest the result of the 2020 presidential election. Prior to her arrival in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 5, 2021, Balmaseda exchanged messages with several associates in which she participated in communications reflecting her belief that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen and her knowledge about the certification process scheduled to take place on Jan. 6, 2021.
On January 6th, Balmaseda was photographed in Black Lives Matter Plaza in downtown Washington, D.C. Shortly after, at about 2:00 p.m., Balmaseda approached the Capitol building with another individual and was in position to see the crowd of rioters climbing the scaffolding on the west side of the Capitol and plumes of smoke that billowed into the air. By this time, rioters had overwhelmed officers on the west front, bypassed the officer lines, and gained access to the northwest stairs of the Capitol. Around 2:09 p.m., rioters pushed past officers on the middle landing of the stairs and surged toward the Capitol building.
According to the allegations, Balmaseda was present towards the front of the mob of rioters on the west front of the Capitol grounds. Balmaseda and the other individual then climbed on equipment that had been staged in preparation for the Presidential Inauguration to gain closer access to the Capitol’s northwest stairs. Balmaseda and another individual climbed on top of the concrete stairs and up the balustrade toward the Upper West Terrace of the Capitol.
U.S. Capitol Police closed-circuit television (CCTV) captured Balmaseda entering the Capitol building via the Senate Wing door at approximately 2:16 p.m., just four minutes after rioters initially breached the building. According to the allegations, when Balmaseda entered the building, broken glass was scattered on the ground, and an alarm blared near the doorway. After entering the Capitol, Balmaseda made her way toward the Crypt and pushed her way to the front of a crowd of rioters who were confronting a police line. The mob eventually overran the police line and proceeded into the Crypt. Balmaseda moved forward, joined a crowd of rioters, and headed towards an area known as the “OAP Corridor,” where another line of officers initially blocked a hallway. The officers eventually backed away, and the rioters, including Balmaseda, continued to move forward.
Balmaseda then made her way back to the Crypt and eventually entered the Rotunda, where she took photographs and exited the area at approximately 2:53 p.m., Balmaseda returned to the Rotunda and stood nearby as a group of rioters attempted to push through an officer line. At approximately 3:11 p.m., law enforcement officers received additional support in the Rotunda and were able to corral rioters, Balmaseda included, towards the nearest exit, the Rotunda doors.
This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.
This case is being investigated by the FBI's Miami and Washington Field Offices. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department.
In the 35 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,230 individuals have been charged in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 440 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, a felony. The investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.
A complaint is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Updated December 18, 2023
Press Release Number: 23-772