Federal judge: Dresch cannot be released
MARQUETTE — The Calumet man accused of being part of the mob that stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6 will continue to be detained before his transfer to Washington, D.C., a federal judge ruled Friday.
The federal probation office had recommended Dresch be released under particular conditions, such as a $20,000 bond and location monitoring.
The deciding factor in keeping Dresch in custody was the discovery of guns and ammunition at Dresch’s home, Magistrate Judge Maarten Vermaat said during Friday’s hearing in U.S. District Court in Marquette.
After executing a search warrant at Dresch’s house, police found several boxes of rifle ammunition inside a backpack matching the appearance of one spotted in photos of Dresch on Jan. 6, along with items such as a District of Columbia Metrocard and a walkie-talkie. Investigators also found hundreds of additional rounds, along with a Russian-made rifle, a Glock firearm, two shotguns and a bayonet.
There was no indication Dresch had brought weapons to Washington, D.C. However, he is barred from owning guns and ammunition, due to a 2013 felony conviction in Wisconsin for fleeing and eluding police after a 145-mph chase.
“The guns and ammunition are problematic for the court, when you mix them with the statements Mr. Dresch was making at the time of the incident in Washington and shortly thereafter,” Vermaat said.
Dresch was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop in Calumet. An FBI affidavit for the search warrant referenced numerous Facebook posts about the Jan. 6 protests in the weeks leading up beforehand, as well as ones including photos and videos appearing to show Dresch inside the Capitol.
The Facebook posts, though placing Dresch at the Capitol, showed no violent behavior or indications he brought weapons, said Dresch’s attorney, Elizabeth LaCosse. His pastor wrote a letter of support, while his mother, who lives in the Houghton area, offered to act as his custodian.
“He does have some strong political views, but he’s not a violent person,” LaCosse said. “It doesn’t appear from any of the allegations that there is any act of violence which the government is alleging he did on Jan. 6, besides being in the area in which he wasn’t supposed to.”
U.S. Attorney Theodore Greeley drew the judge’s attention to a Facebook comment Dresch made the day after the storming of the Capitol, in which he called then-Vice President Mike Pence “traitor scum”: “We have your back. Give the word, and we’ll be back even stronger.”
Any steps toward such activity would be picked up immediately if Dresch were on electronic monitoring, LaCosse said.
In addition to the weapons and social media posts, Greeley brought up Dresch’s past run-ins with the law, which also included a 2008 violation for disturbing the peace and a 2011 fine for obstructing a police officer. The 2013 chase, where police tried to pull Dresch over for speeding, resulted in a Wisconsin felony conviction and two misdemeanor convictions in Michigan.
“His track record suggests to me, and I think it should suggest to the court, that he does not respect the law,” Greeley said. “He does not respect the requirements that are set upon him by society.”
Dresch faces three counts: obstructing an official proceeding, punishable by up to 20 years in prison; knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building without lawful authority and impeding or disrupting official functions, which has a one-year maximum sentence; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, punishable by six months.