Gilroy woman charged in storming of Capitol

Mariposa Castro accused of two misdemeanors

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Crowds protesting the election results in DC threw the nation’s capitol into chaos on Jan. 6. (Photo via Twitter)

A Gilroy woman faces criminal charges in relation to her involvement in the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., according to authorities.

Mariposa Castro is accused of illegally entering the Capitol building during a demonstration supporting former President Donald Trump as Congress was preparing to certify the Nov. 3 election results. She is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, according to a criminal complaint filed by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Both charges are misdemeanors.

Federal investigators found out about Castro’s alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 riot through videos, photos and comments she posted on social media, according to court documents. An unidentified “tipster” alerted the FBI to the social media content.

Castro is “well-known in the community for her counter-protest activities,” the court documents say.

Castro’s previous social media accounts have been inaccessible since shortly after Jan. 6. During the 2020 presidential election campaign, she often posted videos of herself and other demonstrators supporting Trump on the Burnett Avenue overpass on U.S. 101 in Morgan Hill.

Evidence contained in prosecutors’ “statement of facts” includes images from a video that Castro posted Jan. 6 of herself climbing through a window into the Capitol building from a platform that was built for upcoming inauguration ceremonies. The video and photos show Castro surrounded by protesters and rioters, many also entering the Capitol and displaying hats, clothing and banners supporting Trump.

“I’m going in. I’m going in, I’m going in the Capitol,” Castro said in the video, according to the court documents. “We’re in! We’re inside the Capitol house. We got inside the Capitol.”

Another video, recorded by another alleged rioter, shows Castro in a room inside the Capitol among other demonstrators who are heard discussing the building’s floor plans, according to authorities.

Castro, who also identifies herself as “Imelda” on social media, posted numerous videos of herself among the mob outside and inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, authorities said. In one of the videos, Castro said she was having difficulty breathing as police used tear gas to try to disperse the crowd.

Investigators also obtained travel records that confirmed Castro traveled to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 5, according to the court documents.

Also on Jan. 6, according to authorities, following the riots Castro posted on Facebook, “I will be making a video in a while to talk about what happened yesterday from DC Washington. I’m ok but I can feel aches n pains. I was bleeding from my nose this morning. I’m going back out to DC Capital. This is not over!!!”

Castro’s social media accounts describe her as the owner of Mariposa Yoga Studio and Tea Lounge. This newspaper called a phone number listed for the business online, but the individual who answered hung up when the reporter identified himself.

Mariposa Castro, of Gilroy, pictured in a social media video she recorded of herself among the crowd of Trump supporters at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6.

The Jan. 6 riot occurred as both chambers of Congress and Vice President Mike Pence were in the process of certifying the results of the Nov. 3 election, which President Joe Biden won. The crowd of Trump supporters had gathered outside the Capitol to protest the results, and some illegally entered the building by breaking windows and barricades, assaulting police officers and breaching locked doors, according to authorities.

Pence and Congress members had to evacuate the chambers to secure locations while the demonstrators were inside the Capitol. Five people—including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick—died during the Jan. 6 riot.

The charging document for Castro notes that only authorized people with appropriate identification were allowed inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, and the exterior doors and windows were locked while Congress was in the joint session.

The D.C. District Court has charged more than 200 people from throughout the country for crimes related to their involvement in the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol.

The U.S. House of Representatives impeached Trump on Jan. 13 in relation to Capitol riot, charging him with incitement of insurrection. The former president is accused of encouraging his supporters to storm the Capitol in a speech he delivered the morning of Jan. 6, and in social media postings.

The charging documents for Castro do not say when the court would hear her case. The U.S. District Court did not immediately reply to a request for further comment.