Gun-toting Virginia activists arrested near vote-counting in Philadelphia

Two vets with possible ties to QAnon said they were going to Philadelphia with guns and fake ballots to "straighten things out" in the vote count. Instead, they went straight to jail.
This photograph, obtained by the Philadelphia Inquirer from the website of Joshua Macias, shows he and other greeting Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Two Virginia residents drove up to Pennsylvania during the vote-counting in a Hummer with guns, including an AR-15 assault-style rifle, QAnon stickers on a Hummer after bragging they were “going to straighten things out” in the state that put Joe Biden over the top in Electoral Vote counts for the presidency.

Joshua Macias, 42, of Virginia Beach, lied to police when he first claimed he was a resident of Pennsylvania. He and buddy Antonio LaMotta, 61, both veterans, also had at least 160 rounds of ammo in the Hummer.

What they didn’t have was the legality to have firearms in the state. Pennsylvania doesn’t recognize Virginia concealed carry permits and is not an open carry jurisdiction, to the pair were jailed on felony gun charge and are being held in lieu of bail of three-quarters of a million dollars each.

Text messages found by police in Humer said the pair went to Pennsylvania to “straighten things out.” The QAnon stickers indicate a belief in the conspiracy theories promoted by the group which the FBI considers “a growing terrorist threat” in America and around the world.

QAnon claims Trump is fighting a secret war against the “deep state” and that Democrats are led by Satan-worshiping pedophiles.

Macias is a co-founder of Vets for Trump and brags on his LinkedIn page that “We are the backbone of the #MAGA Movement in your backyard. For every Rally, every community meeting we are there for courage and strength as well as security!”

On blogs and networking websites, LaMotta promotes himself as a professional bodyguard and says “If you need real security, don’t pick from the sheeple. Get someone who can see the wolves a mile away.”

LaMotta also calls the COVID-19 pandemic a “entirely man-made fake ‘natural epidemic.’ ” and rants about ”brainwashing democrats” and “brainless Antifa jerks.”

Yet Vladimir Lemets, executive director of Vets for Trump, claims Macias and LaMotta went to Philadelphia to “monitor” how the ballots were being counted.

“They just went up there to see if they could be of any assistance and scope out what’s happening,” Lemets told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “These are the most non-hostile guys you can think of.”

These “non-hostile guys” drove into a state illegally carrying an assault-stye rifle with 160 rounds of ammo.

The following text messages were found on a laptop and smartphones by police in the Hummer after the arrest:

LaMotta asked Macias: ” What’s going on in Pa.? Do you need me there?”

Macias replied: “On standby.”

LaMotta: “Is it a problem?”

Macias responded: “We need arms.”

LaMotta: “You up? I’m ready. Hummer cleaned out.”

Another text read: “Going to Pa. Have a truckload of fake ballots. We are going to raid.”

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner called the actions of the pair an “alarming incident” that is under investigation.

On its website, “Vets for Trump” call Krasner “an activist DA” and says the arrest of Macias and LaMotta “is a clear partisan effort by the same District Attorney who refused to prosecute looters and rioters.”

In a solicitation of contributions for “bail money,” the said said: “Two of our volunteers in Pennsylvania, who have active, out of state, conceal carry licenses, were targeted by activists and are being prosecuted by an activist Pro-Biden District Attorney Larry Krasner.”

Philadelphia police had been on the lookout for the men after being alerted by the FBI, which had received a tip that included a screenshot of a text stating that the suspects had several AR-15s and a “ton of ammo.”

The tip came from someone in Norfolk, not Pennsylvania. A court hearing for LaMotta and Macias is scheduled for next week.

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