Thursday, March 03, 2016

Indictment Accuses Bundy, Followers of Conspiracy in Nevada

A federal indictment accuses renegade Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, two of his sons and at least five other men from several states of conspiracy, obstruction, assault, threatening federal officers and other charges in a 2014 armed standoff over grazing cattle on U.S. land near Bundy's ranch. Bundy and seven other people's names appeared unredacted in an indictment obtained Thursday following the arrest of alleged co-conspirator Gerald "Jerry" DeLemus in New Hampshire. They are Cliven Bundy's sons Ammon Bundy of Arizona and Ryan Bundy of Utah, and supporters Ryan Payne of Montana, Peter Santilli Jr. of California, and Brian Cavalier and Blaine Cooper, both of Arizona. Each was already in custody after being identified by federal authorities as having taken part in the Nevada standoff and the occupation this year of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon. Federal authorities on Thursday arrested DeLemus, 61, of Rochester, New Hampshire, on allegations that he "organized and led armed patrols and security checkpoints" for several weeks after a tense armed confrontation in April 2014 near Cliven Bundy's melon farm and cattle ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada. "DeLemus used guns and threats of violence to intimidate and interfere with federal law enforcement officers," Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Zuckerman wrote. Redactions in the indictment filed Wednesday in Las Vegas appear to black out names and allegations against 11 more people. The nine-count indictment is similar to one filed Feb. 11, a day after Cliven Bundy, 74, was arrested after flying from Las Vegas to Portland, Oregon, to visit Ammon and Ryan Bundy in jail. The Bundy sons were arrested Jan. 26 and accused of organizing an occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Ammon Bundy and 15 other defendants pleaded not guilty last week in Portland to federal conspiracy charges related to the occupation. A total of 25 people are charged in connection with the takeover, which began Jan. 2 and lasted until Feb. 11. The occupiers wanted the U.S. government to relinquish public lands to locals and free two Oregon ranchers who they say were wrongly imprisoned for setting fires. DeLemus also traveled to Oregon to talk with the group at the refuge. But returned home before arrests were made and hasn't been charged with a crime. The new indictment alleges a conspiracy to recruit, organize, train and provide support to armed men and other followers of rancher Cliven Bundy during an aborted round-up of his cattle in a dispute over more than $1 million in unpaid grazing fees and penalties. The charges include conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States; threatening a federal law enforcement officer; obstruction of justice; attempting to impede or injure a federal law enforcement officer; and several firearms charges. It calls Cliven Bundy the leader and beneficiary of the conspiracy, and Ammon and Ryan Bundy leaders and organizers of about 200 gunmen and followers who forced federal agents and contract cowboys to release about 400 cows that had been rounded up from federal land near the Bundy ranch. DeLemus was due to appear federal court in Concord, New Hampshire. Calls to DeLemus' court-appointed attorney and his wife, Republican state Rep. Susan DeLemus, were not immediately returned. At the time of his arrest, DeLemus was running for Strafford County sheriff.   ABC News

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