Yacolt man to be sentenced for Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol

Defendant joined push against law enforcement in Lower West Terrace Tunnel


A Yacolt man is set to be sentenced in September for his participation in the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Benjamin John Silva, 36, pleaded guilty April 5 in the District of Columbia to a felony charge of civil disorder before U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras. Contreras will sentence Silva on Sept. 17, the Department of Justice (DOJ) stated in a press release.

“His actions and those of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the 2020 presidential election,” the release stated.

According to court documents, at approximately 2:56 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2021, Silva was identified near an entrance on the lower West Terrace of the Capitol building, also referred to as the Tunnel, where some of the most violent attacks against law enforcement on Jan. 6 occurred. Inside the Tunnel, Silva made his way to the front of a crowd of rioters and confronted an established police line, the release stated.

Court documents state that at about 3:04 p.m., Silva joined with other rioters inside the Tunnel as they began to move back and forth, pushing against the police line that was guarding the door entrance into the Capitol building, the release stated. Silva also leaned into the line of officers with his hand up on the riot shield of one officer, the release stated.

“Silva then spoke with a police officer while an individual behind him sprayed the line of officers with a chemical irritant,” the release stated. “At one point, as he continued to push toward the police line, an officer put his hand on Silva’s forearm/wrist area in an effort to push him back.” According to court documents, even when other rioters were leaving the Tunnel, Silva fought to stay in and to press forward against the police line in a concerted effort with other rioters. Silva left the Tunnel at about 3:07 p.m., the release stated.

The FBI arrested Silva on July 25, 2023, in Oregon, the release stated.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section are prosecuting this case. The U.S. Attorney’s offices for the Western District of Washington and District of Oregon assisted.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Seattle and Washington D.C. field offices. The U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department provided “valuable assistance,” the release stated.

In the 38 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,358 people have been charged in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 486 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, a felony, the release added. The investigation into the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol remains ongoing.