The lead defendant in an indictment that charges three Southern California men linked to a white supremacy extremist group with planning and engaging in riots at political rallies across California has been extradited to the United States from Romania, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.
Robert Paul Rundo, 33, of Huntington Beach, allegedly a founding member of the Rise Above Movement (RAM), was transported by special agents with the FBI from Romania to Hollywood Burbank Airport, where he arrived Tuesday evening. Rundo is in federal custody and is expected to make his initial appearance and be arraigned this afternoon in United States District Court in Los Angeles.
Rundo, along with two other defendants, is charged with conspiracy to violate the Anti-Riot Act for his activities in connection with RAM, a white supremacist organization that represented itself “publicly…as a combat-ready, militant group of a new nationalist white supremacy and identity movement,” according to a federal grand jury indictment.
In addition to the conspiracy charge, Rundo also is charged with one count of rioting.
The other defendants charged in this case are:
- Robert Boman, 30, of Torrance; and
- Tyler Laube, 27, of Redondo Beach.
The trial date in this matter is scheduled for December 12.
According to the indictment, the defendants participated in the conspiracy in varying ways, including by engaging in recruitment of RAM members, coordinating and participating in hand-to-hand and other combat training, traveling to political rallies to attack protesters and other persons, and publishing photographs and videos of violent acts to recruit other members for future events.
The indictment alleges that various members of the conspiracy directly participated in attacks at political rallies in Huntington Beach on March 25, 2017; in Berkeley on April 15, 2017; and in San Bernardino on June 10, 2017. In the months following these events, the defendants allegedly trained for future events and celebrated their assaults, which included online posts with photos of RAM members assaulting people.
(An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court).
In June 2019, a federal district court dismissed the indictment against Rundo and the other defendants, finding that the federal Anti-Riot Act violated the First Amendment. In March 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s dismissal and the criminal charges were reinstated.
Both the conspiracy and rioting charges carry statutory maximum sentences of five years in federal prison.
The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force is investigating this case.
The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and the FBI’s Legal Attaché Office in Bucharest provided substantial assistance in securing the arrest and extradition of Rundo.
The Romanian National Police, Directorate of Combatting Organized Crime and Terrorism (DCCO), Fugitive Unit; the Romanian General Prosecutor’s Office and Border Police; the U.S. Embassy Bucharest Regional Security Office and Consular Section/American Citizen Services, in coordination with Interpol Romania, provided substantial assistance in securing the arrest and extradition of Rundo.
Assistant United States Attorneys Solomon Kim and Kathrynne N. Seiden, both of the Terrorism and Export Crimes Section, are prosecuting this case.
Categories: Huntington Beach