Amherst man, Ryder Winegar, set to plead guilty on threat charges

AMHERST – Ryder Winegar, 33, the Amherst man who fled to Brazil after allegedly making threats against six members of Congress and one New Hampshire state representative is now scheduled to plead guilty to the federal charges levied against him.

Winegar is being held without bail on six counts of making threats against a federal official, and one count of making a threatening interstate communication for reportedly emailing a threat to the state representative on Dec. 14, 2020.

Initially, Winegar pleaded not guilty to the charges, but according to the docket on file in the United States District Court in Concord, he is now scheduled to change his pleas during a hearing set for next month.

Winegar fled to Brazil on Dec. 21, 2020, exactly one day after he discovered that police were investigating his calls to the members of Congress, according to court records.

He returned to the United States on Jan. 11 and surrendered to FBI agents after he communicated with a defense attorney.

According to the indictments, Winegar sent an e-mail to the state representative on Dec. 14 containing a threat to pull the man from his bed and hang him. Winegarn was reportedly upset that Donald Trump lost the November election and on Dec. 16 and into Dec. 17, he called three United States Senators and three Congressional Representatives, leaving threatening voicemails that included the threat to kill them if they didn’t act to overturn the election in Trump’s favor.

Along with the violent threats, and racist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic language, Winegar allegedly also left his name and cell phone number on the voicemails.

When Capitol Police officers went to his home on Juniper Drive to interview him on Dec. 20, 2020, Winegar reportedly refused to speak with them. Within 24 hours, his wife had taken him to the airport and he flew to Brazil, according to court records.

Investigators reportedly found an AR-15 rifle loaded with light armor-piercing ammunition, a loaded shotgun, a loaded 9mm pistol, an unloaded rifle with a scope, several hundred rounds of ammunition, and a body armor vest, with clips and Level IV body armor plates, according to Magistrate Judge Andrea K. Johnstone’s order.

“When considered alongside the defendant’s violent threats against members of Congress, the presence of those items in his home is relevant to the court’s assessment of dangerousness and weighs in favor of detention,” Johnstone wrote.

Winegar, a Navy veteran, described himself as a stay-at-home dad who managed the family rental properties in Manchester when questioned by federal pretrial services investigators.

Winegar is not the only New Hampshire resident charged for actions taken after the 2020 presidential election. Thomas Gallagher, from Bridgewater, and Jason Riddle, of Keene, are both facing charges for being part of the crowd that stormed the United States Capitol building during the failed Jan. 6 insurrection. Their cases are pending in the United States District Court in Washington D.C.