Patriot Front member who stormed the Capitol to plead guilty on weapons charge
Video screengrab courtesy of Unicorn Riot

Michael Jones, the one-time Patriot Front member who was arrested on a federal charge of unlawful transport of firearms after sheriff’s deputies found a mobile arsenal in his car during a traffic stop in upstate New York earlier this year, has reached a plea deal with the government, his lawyer disclosed.

A 24-year-old North Carolina native, Jones marched on the US Capitol with the Proud Boys on Jan. 6, battled police on the West Plaza, and carried a broken furniture leg out of the building, according to previous reporting by Raw Story. Later, on Jan. 6, Jones was arrested by DC Metropolitan police for violating curfew.

Following Jan. 6, Jones became active with Patriot Front, a white nationalist group that splintered from Vanguard America in 2017. James A. Fields Jr. rallied with Vanguard America at the Unite the Right rally in August 2017 before plowing his Dodge Challenger into a group of antiracist marchers and murdering Heather Heyer.

In December 2021, Jones was entrusted with responsibility for coordinating communications for a flash rally held by Patriot Front in Washington, DC that grabbed national headlines.

Previously, Jones and other Patriot Front members cased a statue of abolitionist Harriet Tubman in a public park in Sylva, NC, where video obtained by the media collective Unicorn Riot shows them discussing options for cutting the power to provide a cover of darkness. Plans for the vandalizing the statue were abandoned when one of the members raised suspicions by filming the faces of the other participants during the “scouting mission,” according to a chat obtained by Unicorn Riot.

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The chats revealed that while traveling home from the DC rally in December 2021, Jones experienced acute pain in his legs and was hospitalized in Wytheville, Va.

A group of volunteer researchers analyzing the Jan. 6 attack located Jones at the Capitol and eventually connected him to Patriot Front, and a separate team of antiracist researchers disclosed his identity on Twitter in July. To date, federal prosecutors have made no mention of Jones’ involvement in the Jan. 6 attack or his activity with Patriot Front in court filings or statements in open court.

Jones’ current legal troubles began when he was pulled over by a sheriff’s deputy in rural Genesee County outside of Rochester, NY in March.

During the traffic stop, deputies discovered “several knives, military surplus gear, and two compound bows” in a Nissan Sentra driven by Jones, according to federal court documents. They also reported finding a backpack with bolt cutters protruding on the floorboards of the passenger seat. The passenger, identified in court documents as “PK,” has not been charged.

When deputies determined that the car wasn’t registered to Jones, they had it towed, and a further search uncovered an AR-15. Jones received a state charge of criminal possession of a weapon due to modifications on the AR-15 deemed to be in violation of the New York State SAFE Act.

The state charge attracted the attention of an FBI special agent in Rochester, who discovered that Jones was convicted of a felony in North Carolina in 2019. The conviction arose from a 2017 arrest in Alamance County for statutory sex offense when Jones was accused of having sex with a 15-year-old and a 14-year-old. At the time of the sexual encounter, Jones was reportedly 19 and 18, respectively. As a result of the state charge in New York coupled with the felony conviction in North Carolina, federal authorities charged Jones in June in the Western District of New York with knowingly and unlawfully possessing a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon.

Jones had been previously scheduled to appear in federal court in Rochester for a status conference on Thursday. But in a letter to Judge Mark Pedersen on Sept. 23, defense attorney Steven Slawinski wrote that “Mr. Jones and the government have reached a tentative plea agreement in this case that needs to be written and approved by the US Attorney’s office.”

Slawinski told Judge Pedersen that the prosecuting attorney assigned to the case told him the government does not oppose the request for a 30-day adjournment to allow time to formalize the deal.