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Press Release

Washington State Man Pleads Guilty to Felony Charge for Actions During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Defendant Joined Push Against Law Enforcement in Lower West Terrace Tunnel

           WASHINGTON - A Washington state man pleaded guilty today to a felony charge related to his conduct during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. His actions and those 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.

           Benjamin John Silva, 36, of Yacolt, Washington, pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia to a felony charge of civil disorder before U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras. Judge Contreras will sentence Silva on Sept. 17, 2024.

           According to court documents, at approximately 2:56 p.m., on Jan. 6, 2021, Silva was identified near an entrance on the Lower West Terrace of the Capitol building, also referred to as the Tunnel. Some of the most violent attacks against law enforcement on January 6th occurred at the Tunnel. Inside the Tunnel, Silva made his way to the front of a crowd of rioters confronting an established police line.

           Court documents say that at about 3:04 p.m., Silva joined with other rioters inside the Tunnel as they began to move back and forth, applying force against the police line ahead of them that was guarding the door entrance into the Capitol building. Silva participated in this effort, adding his force, body, and momentum in a coordinated “heave-ho” effort. Silva also leaned into the line of officers with his hand up on the riot shield of one officer.

           Silva then spoke with a police officer while an individual behind him sprayed the line of officers with a chemical irritant. At one point, as he continued to push toward the police line, an officer put his hand on Silva's forearm/wrist area in an effort to push him back. Court documents say that even when other rioters were leaving the Tunnel, Silva fought to stay in and to press forward against the police line in a concerted effort with other rioters doing the same. Silva made his way out of the Tunnel at about 3:07 p.m.

           The FBI arrested Silva on July 25, 2023, in Oregon.

           The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section are prosecuting this case. The U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Western District of Washington District of Oregon and provided valuable assistance.

           This case was investigated by the FBI’s Seattle and Washington Field Offices. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department.

           In the 38 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,358 individuals have been charged in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 486 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

Updated April 5, 2024

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 24-299