As federal officials continue to conduct investigations, and in some cases raids, over the riot at the Capitol during last month’s certification of votes in the national election, several Orange County residents have drawn official focus.
Last week, federal authorities confirmed to Voice of OC they searched an Irvine apartment on Feb. 3 that state records indicate is a residential address for Monica Alston, an Orange County sheriff’s special officer who is under internal investigation by her department..
“We searched that location,” FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said after a reporter asked if there was a warranted search at the address where Alston is registered to vote.
Authorities conducted the search on Feb. 3, Eimiller said. She declined to comment further, saying the search is under seal.
In order to conduct a search, federal authorities “must have probable cause, approved by a federal judge, to seek evidence in an ongoing investigation,” Eimiller said.
Following the FBI search, Orange County Sheriff officials on Feb. 23 also named Alston as an employee who is subject to an ongoing internal investigation and is on leave.
“Sheriff’s Special Officer Monica Alston is on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal administrative investigation,” said Sheriff spokesperson Carrie Braun, who declined to comment beyond saying the probe is ongoing.
In January, sheriff officials first confirmed in a January statement to Voice of OC that they were probing the activities of an unnamed, off-duty employee that was identified as being in the area of the Capitol rally that later turned into a riot.
Asked whether Alston was the employee they were investigating, Braun declined to say more.
Repeated attempts to reach the officer for comment through phone and text messages have gone unreturned as of Monday.
Voice of OC confirmed the address is registered to the officer – whose name is listed on the public employee database Transparent California – through voter registration records.
It comes after federal authorities earlier this month arrested and charged Christian Secor, a 22-year-old Costa Mesa resident and University of California, Los Angeles student who is alleged to have been among those storming the Capitol rotunda in January.
And that month, the FBI searched the homes of two men — Russell Taylor in Ladera Ranch and Alan Hostetter in San Clemente — over their suspected involvement as well.
Hostetter has become prominent among right-wing Orange County residents for his vocal criticism of the Coronavirus pandemic’s local public health restrictions.
Last summer, he was arrested by sheriff’s deputies in San Clemente after leading a protest of more than 100 people who tried to kick through fencing at the beach, which was put up after Gov. Gavin Newsom issued Coronavirus stay home orders and closed the county’s beaches.