FBI arrests 3 militiamen leaving Malheur Wildlife Refuge

Unclear how many militia members remain

From left to right: Jason Patrick, Dylan Anderson and Duane Ehmer were arrested leaving the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, January 27 2016. (MCSO)
From left to right: Jason Patrick, Dylan Anderson and Duane Ehmer were arrested leaving the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, January 27 2016. (MCSO)

BURNS, Ore. (KOIN) — Federal authorities arrested 3 more people connected to the Malheur occupation Wednesday afternoon, the FBI announced.

The FBI set up a perimeter around the Malheur Wildlife Refuge and established a series of checkpoints earlier in the day, as militia members continued their occupation.

In a statement, the FBI said the containment was to “better ensure the safety of community members.” Only Harney County ranchers who own property in specific areas were allowed to pass after showing IDs.

Since Wednesday morning, a total of 8 people left the refuge, the FBI said. Five of them were released and 3 were arrested.

From left to right: Jason Patrick, Dylan Anderson and Duane Ehmer were arrested leaving the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, January 27 2016. (MCSO)
From left to right: Jason Patrick, Dylan Anderson and Duane Ehmer were arrested leaving the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, January 27 2016. (MCSO)

Duane Ehmer, 45, or Irrigon, Oregon and Dylan Anderson, 34, of Provo, Utah were arrested at 3:30 p.m. Jason Patrick, 43, of Bonaire, Georgia was arrested on probable cause at 7:40 p.m., the FBI said.

All 3 were reportedly in contact with the FBI and chose to turn themselves in at a checkpoint outside the refuge.

They were all arrested without incident. They each face one federal felony count of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 372.

Complete coverage of the militia at Malheur

During a press conference held by the FBI on Wednesday, Special Agent in Charge Greg Bretzing called on the militia still occupying the refuge to leave.

“If the people at the refuge want to leave, they can do so through the checkpoints where they will be identified. If they have questions or concerns, they can call the negotiators at the number that has been provided to them,” Bretzing said.

Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward also called on them to leave, saying: “This cant happen anymore. It can’t happen in America and it can’t happen in Harney County.”

Ammon Bundy relayed a message to the remaining occupiers through his defense attorney, Mike Arnold. “Please stand down, please stand down,” he said. “Go home and hug your families. This fight is ours for now, in the courts.”

It was unclear exactly how many people remained in the buildings at the refuge.

A screenshot from a live stream from inside the refuge. (Youtube)
A screenshot from a live stream from inside the refuge, Jan. 27, 2016 (YouTube)

Jason Patrick, a new leader of the occupation, told Oregon Public Broadcasting 5 or 6 members of the group agreed to continue the standoff.

Brand Thornton, one of Bundy’s supporters, said he left the refuge Monday and wasn’t sure what those remaining would do.

“The entire leadership is gone,” he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “I wouldn’t blame any of them for leaving.”

Thornton called the arrests “a dirty trick” by law enforcement.

Harney County Judge Steve Grasty released the following statement Wednesday:

Bundy brothers, other militants arrested Tuesday

One person died and 8 were arrested after the FBI and the Oregon State Police intercepted the group along Highway 395.

Militia leaders Ammon and Ryan Bundy along with 5 other members of the group were booked into Multnomah County Jail early Wednesday morning.

The militants were heading to a community meeting in John Day when they were confronted by authorities.

Members of a SWAT team on Highway 395 reportedly opened fire after a high-speed getaway attempt and a reach for the waistband, CNN reported. LaVoy Finicum was killed in the confrontation.

A law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said Finicum was armed but did not have an opportunity to shoot.

 

Ryan Bundy was also shot, but was treated and released from the hospital.

Specifically, the group wanted federal lands turned over to local authorities. The U.S. government controls about half of all land in the West. Conflicts over Western land use stretch back decades.The militants, calling themselves Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, came to the frozen high desert of eastern Oregon to decry what it calls onerous federal land restrictions and to object to the prison sentences of two local ranchers convicted of setting fires.

In the 1970s, Nevada and other states pushed for local control in what was known as the Sagebrush Rebellion. Supporters wanted more land for cattle grazing, mining and timber harvesting.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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