OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — A member of the Grizzly Scouts militia group connected to the “boogaloo” movement was sentenced for obstructing justice in a murder investigation and enticing a 15-year-old girl to engage in sexual activity.

Robert Blancas, 35, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria on Monday to serve 126 months in prison.

Blancas played a role in the murder of a federal security officer at the Oakland federal building on May 29, 2020, prosecutors said. He was one of four Grizzly Scouts indicted for destroying records — many which were messages sent through WhatsApp and Facebook — related to the murder of officer David Underwood.

Three other members of the group were previously sentenced on May 5: Jessie Rush, 29, of Turlock; Simon Ybarra, 23, of Los Gatos; and Kenny Miksch, 21, of San Lorenzo. Rush, Ybarra, and Miksch are all currently in federal custody. 

United States Attorney Stephanie Hinds said, “Today’s 126 month sentence imposed on Blancas brings an end to another chapter in this tragic story. Rather than assist federal authorities, Blancas and his Grizzly Scouts co-conspirators destroyed important evidence in an effort to obstruct justice. Through the diligence of law enforcement, their cowardly efforts were not successful, and all four have been convicted of felonies.”

According to their plea agreements, Blancas, Rush, Ybarra, and Miksch formed an armed anti-government militia group in April 2020 named the “1st Detachment, 1st California Grizzly Scouts.”  They had connected earlier via a Facebook group created in connection to the boogaloo movement.  “Boogaloo” is a term used by militia extremists to reference a so-called impending civil war or uprising against the government.

Blancas assumed the rank of “1st Lieutenant” with responsibilities for the group’s security and intelligence.  Blancas and his codefendants engaged in armed, in person “training operations” in May 2020 with operations orders that labeled law enforcement as potential “enemy forces.”

This June 7, 2020, file booking photo from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office shows Steven Carrillo, a former U.S. Air Force sergeant. (Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office via AP, File)

Blancas and his codefendants acknowledged in their plea agreements that they learned another Grizzly Scouts member, 33-year-old Steven Carrillo of Ben Lomond, murdered Underwood.

The Grizzly Scouts members communicated with each other using WhatsApp as a manhunt for Carrillo was underway in the Santa Cruz mountains. Carrillo had just murdered another law enforcement officer, Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, setting off the manhunt.

Prosecutors wrote, “The Grizzly Scouts member sent group communications via a WhatsApp group entitled ‘209 Goon HQ’ during that alleged member’s subsequent attack on and shoot-out with Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s deputies in Ben Lomond, California on June 6, 2020.  Blancas and his codefendants admitted to conspiring with other group members to destroy the records of their interactions and communications because they foresaw authorities would investigate and prosecute (Carrillo).  Blancas also destroyed files on Dropbox regarding the Grizzly Scouts that consisted of the group’s rank structure, a non-disclosure agreement requiring members to maintain confidentiality of group materials, a liability release waiver, descriptions of the Grizzly Scouts uniforms, and a scorecard assessing the skills of Grizzly Scouts members in combat, firearms, medical, and other training.”

Blancas was also charged in a separate case for enticing a minor to engage in sexual activity and producing child pornography. 

Blancas admitted that from April through September 2020, he enticed a 15-year old girl to repeatedly make and send him pornographic photographs and videos of herself. 

“Blancas admitted that he received more than one hundred pornographic photographs and videos from the victim, all while exchanging thousands of messages with her and speaking to her by audio and video call.  Blancas also admitted that he knew she was a minor when he did so,” prosecutors wrote.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Sean Ragan said, “Not only was Blancas convicted of obstruction of justice, he was also convicted of the heinous crime of enticing a juvenile to make child pornography. Either of these crimes on their own would have been very significant, high-priority cases for the FBI. The broad nature of his criminal offenses demonstrate that Robert Blancas was a threat to society.”

Carrillo is slated to be sentenced on August 26 to life in prison without possibility of parole.