Jurupa man who joined U.S. Capitol riot sentenced


City News Service | Contributed

A 45-year-old man who was among seven people from Riverside County charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol was sentenced on Monday to 18 months in federal prison.

Andrew Alan Hernandez of Jurupa Valley in September pleaded guilty to a charge of aiding and abetting in the obstruction of an official proceeding.

Hernandez admitted the felony count under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which agreed to drop five related charges in exchange for the admission.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in Washington, D.C. certified the terms of the bargain and additionally ordered the defendant to spend 36 months on supervised release following his incarceration, as well as to pay $2,000 in restitution to the government.

Security surveillance camera images of Hernandez inside the Capitol Building on the day of the insurrection showed him carrying an American flag with a Go-Pro camera zip-tied to the pole.

The pictures, collected by the FBI and included in the indictment against the defendant, revealed he had entered the building via the East Rotunda Door, which was forced open, then milled about with others who had breached the Capitol.

He posted a social media message prior to joining the protest outside the Capitol that day, saying, “They are trying to steal the vote and will perfect and protect their fraudulent voting system when in power.”

Hernandez proceeded to the Senate Gallery, snapped a few selfies and exited the edifice 15 minutes later, according to prosecutors.

The defendant, like the other six Riverside County men charged with disrupting the Electoral College vote certification, was not accused of engaging in any act of violence against law enforcement officers during the breach.

He was the third defendant from Riverside County to enter a plea agreement with the government.

Last March, Kevin Strong, 46, of Wildomar, admitted a misdemeanor count of picketing in the Capitol Building. He was sentenced to 24 months’ probation.

Last June, Rafael Valadez Jr., 43, of Indio, admitted the same offense in a plea agreement with prosecutors. He was sentenced in October to 30 days behind bars.

Derek Kinnison, 41, of Lake Elsinore, Felipe Antonio Martinez, 49, of Lake Elsinore, Ron Mele, 53, of Temecula, and Erik Scott Warner, 47, of Menifee, are awaiting disposition of their cases, which involve a mix of felony and misdemeanor allegations. Kinnison’s attorney, Nic Cocis, told City News Service in July that he intends to put his client’s case before a jury.

They’re among roughly 950 individuals nationwide whom federal authorities allege entered the Capitol unlawfully.

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