Criminal Justice

Houston man convicted for role in U.S. Capitol insurrection after speaking about it with reporter

Wilmar Jeovanny Montano-Alvarado, 40, was found guilty this week of three felony crimes and two misdemeanors. He is scheduled to be sentenced in February.

U.S. Capitol Riot
AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana
In this Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, supporters of President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

Statements he made to a local TV news station in the aftermath of the U.S. Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, contributed to a Houston man being convicted of seven federal crimes this week.

Wilmar Jeovanny Montano-Alvarado, 40, was found guilty by a federal judge Tuesday of taking part in the riot at the Capitol, where a crowd of supporters of then-President Donald Trump disrupted a joint session of Congress and tried to prevent lawmakers from certifying the 2020 presidential election results in favor of Joe Biden. Five people died during the attack, which injured more than 100 police officers and resulted in millions of dollars in damages and losses, according to federal court records.

Judge Richard J. Leon found Montano-Alvarado guilty of the felony crimes of civil disorder; obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting; and assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers; along with the misdemeanors of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a capitol building; and impeding passage through the capitol grounds or buildings. Montano-Alvarado is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 8, court records show.

The defense attorneys representing Montano-Alvarado did not immediately respond to a Wednesday email seeking comment.

A probable cause affidavit filed in court shows the FBI connected Montano-Alvarado to the insurrection because of an interview he gave to Fox 26 Houston two days afterward, when he admitted to flying from Houston to Washington D.C. to protest the election results "because he believed election fraud may have compromised his vote." Montano-Alvarado also told the TV station he was at the Capitol and part of the crowd there, according to court records.

Wilmar Montano-Alvarado Capitol
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
FBI agents used a YouTube video to identify Houston resident Wilmar Jeovanny Montano-Alvarado, right, as being involved in insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

"Montano-Alvarado told the reporter that he was glad he ‘protested' and did not regret it," the probable cause affidavit states.

The following week, Montano-Alvarado called the FBI's Houston office and confirmed he was pictured in a seeking-information poster the FBI had released, also confirming he had traveled to Washington and was at the Capitol, according to court records, which show that denied assaulting any officers or going inside the Capitol building.

But federal agents subsequently obtained a YouTube video that showed Montano-Alvarado inside the building while wearing a brown hooded jacket, a U.S. flag neck gaiter and a red, white and blue beanie with "TRUMP" written on it, court documents show. At one point Montano-Alvarado was seen getting hit in the head with a speaker that was thrown, an incident he discussed in his interview with Fox 26 Houston, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Wilmar Montano-Alvarado Fox Interview
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
FBI agents connected Houston resident Wilmar Jeovanny Montano-Alvarado to the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in part because of an interview he conducted with Fox 26 Houston.

Montano-Alvarado was arrested in Houston later in January 2021 and pleaded not guilty to all the crimes with which he was charged.

He is at least the sixth Houston-area man to be convicted for his involvement in the riot. Christian Cortez of Seabrook was sentenced to four months in prison in May 2022 after pleading guilty to civil disorder, Joshua Lee Hernandez of Houston pleaded guilty last November to two felony crimes, Shane Jenkins of Houston was found guilty in March of seven felony crimes and two misdemeanors, Joshua Lollar of Spring pleaded guilty to a felony in May and was sentenced to 13 months in prison, and Adam Jackson of Katy pleaded guilty earlier this fall to assaulting a federal officer.

Additionally, Houston resident Alexander Fan was arrested earlier this summer for his alleged role in the insurrection. And Michael Marroquin of Nederland was arrested in July and charged with seven crimes related to his alleged involvement in the attack at the Capitol.

More than 1,000 people have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the Capitol breach, with more than 350 of those people having been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.