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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of North Carolina

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Federal Inmates Indicted by Federal Grand Jury for Inciting a Mutiny or Riot and Assault on Federal Officers

RALEIGH, N.C. – A federal grand jury returned an indictment today charging two inmates at the Federal Correctional Institution in Butner, North Carolina (“FCI Butner I”) with assaulting, resisting, or impeding federal officers, as well as inciting or participating in a mutiny or riot within a federal penal institution. 

According to the indictment, on April 22, 2020 Rene Moreno-Castillo and Javier Tijerina allegedly assaulted, resisted, or impeded federal officers during the performance of their official duties at FCI Butner I.  Specifically, Moreno-Castillo is alleged to have pulled a fire extinguisher from the wall during an open disagreement with staff about housing assignments, and sprayed them with its chemical contents.  Additionally, the indictment alleges that on the same day, prior to the discharge of the fire extinguisher, Tijerina, expressing the same perceived disagreement, incited and attempted to cause or assisted in a mutiny or riot within FCI Butner I by openly yelling, gesturing, and threatening “action” by the inmates if housing assignments did not change. 

According to the indictment, after spraying staff, inmate Moreno-Castillo barricaded the unit door with lockers which he ripped from the wall and slid against the door, tied the door shut with a bed sheet, and continued to spray the fire extinguisher, filling the unit with the powder contents.  FCI Butner I staff, including a tactical Complex-wide Quick Response Force, were emergently called to the scene to regain control of the unit.

Robert J. Higdon, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina commented:  “Effectively managing a federal prison is a complex and difficult job but is one that is critical to the enforcement of our criminal laws and to ensuring the safety of people in every community across the country.  The men and women who serve us from behind the walls of facilities like those at Butner deserve our support and swift enforcement when prisoners take any action that impedes their work or, as here, threatens the security of those officers and risks the proper order and management of the prison.  This indictment deals with the offenders who tried to incite a riot within the Butner facility but is also designed to send a message to anyone else who might consider this type of action; there will be consequences if you jeopardize the security of our prisons or endanger the brave officers and employees who serve us from within the facility.”

Moreno-Castillo is charged with violation of 18 U.S.C. § 111 and 18 U.S.C. § 1792.  If convicted, he faces a maximum potential penalty of eight or ten years in prison, respectively.  Inmate Tijerina is charged with a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1792, he faces a maximum potential penalty of ten years in prison. 

U.S. Attorney Higdon made the announcement. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Mallory Brooks Storus is prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on our website

An indictment is merely an accusation. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.


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Updated May 6, 2020