An FBI raid at a Laguna Beach home on Thursday, March 11, was related to the federal investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and resulted in the arrest of a man on a state weapons possession charge, authorities said.

Garrett Andrew Gauvain, 49, was taken into custody by Laguna Beach police in the 1100 block of Catalina Street on suspicion of being in possession of a firearm within 10 years of a misdemeanor battery conviction, according to the Police Department and court records. He posted bail and was released.

The FBI confirmed it executed a federal search warrant but said it’s under seal and the agency was unable to provide any details about the probe, including the probable cause that led agents to believe there was evidence of a crime at Gauvain’s home, said Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice.

Laguna Beach Police Lt. Jim Cota said the raid was related to the Capitol investigation but declined to comment further.

Gauvain acknowledged to the Laguna Beach Independent that he was at the Capitol on Jan. 6 but said he did not confront police or enter the building where Congress was certifying the Electoral College presidential vote that day in favor of Democrat Joe Biden over Republican President Donald Trump.

An FBI agent told him that cell phone pings showed he was at the site that day, Gauvain said.

He had not been charged with a firearms violation in Orange County or any federal crimes related to the Capitol riot as of Saturday, court records show.

Gauvain declined to answer most questions on Saturday but his attorney, Jennifer Zeiter, spoke for him.

Zeiter, president of the Greater Laguna Beach GOP, of which Gauvain is a member, said Saturday that she had not seen the search warrant, but she doubted Gauvain did anything to prompt the federal government’s search other than show up at the rally in Washington, D.C.

“I think he, like many of us, is just dumbfounded,” Zeiter said. “You think you are participating in free speech, and the next thing you know, you are part of a dragnet. I think the unintended or intended impact of these actions is the complete silencing and chilling of conservative speech. You wake up one morning, and you wonder what country you are in.”

Zeiter said Gauvain is not a member of any of the extremist groups that attended the rally, nor does he subscribe to any ideologies similar to Q-Anon. Gauvain simply supported the policies of Trump, she said, although she did not know his precise motivation for attending the rally.

“He’s just your average Joe who is conservative,” Zeiter said.

On Thursday, neighbors said they awoke to pounding and a commotion, and were stunned to see about 10 FBI agents swarming on the property, one wearing a jacket that said, “FBI Counterterrorism Unit.”

Gauvain later discussed the events that led up to his arrest with the Independent. On Saturday, he cited what he said in that interview in a brief exchange with an SCNG reporter.

In February 2016, Gauvain pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery with serious bodily injury in Orange County Superior Court after punching a man who he said had groped a female co-worker at a Laguna Beach bar. He was sentenced to three years probation, 45 days of “physical labor,” court records show, and restitution.

That particular crime made Gauvain ineligible to own a firearm for 10 years. But Gauvain said he was unaware of that condition.

In 2017, Laguna Beach police seized a gun from Gauvain during a disturbance but later returned it, Zeiter said. She questioned why police returned the pistol if Gauvain was not allowed to have it. That pistol is the same one that the FBI seized on Thursday, she said.

“He’s just demoralized that this is happening in America,” Zeiter said.

 

 

 

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