Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Montana sheriff seeks to avoid standoff over arrest

The last named defendant in the armed occupation of an Oregon wildlife refuge was still at large Tuesday, drawing calls for supporters to flock to his Montana hometown and a local sheriff to urge outsiders to stay out of it. Supporters of the 41-day standoff this winter over U.S. land restrictions used social media to rally behind Jake Ryan, urging the sheriff to resist federal efforts to apprehend him and for people to head to the small northwestern town of Plains to pray with Ryan’s family. Sanders County Sheriff Tom Rummel, trying to head off any new armed conflicts, warned standoff supporters to stay away during negotiations for Ryan’s arrest. “There is no standoff, and I want to keep it that way,” Rummel told The Associated Press. “I don’t need anybody showing up in my county that’s only going to add tension to the situation.” A federal judge released Ryan’s name Monday as the 26th defendant charged in connection with the occupation at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Ryan and another man are accused of using heavy equipment to dig a trench through a Native American archaeological site at the refuge. He and Travis Cox were the only people facing charges who had not been arrested by Tuesday morning. The sheriff, like the occupation supporters, is wary of federal officials. Rummel once gave his support to failed legislation in Montana that would have required any federal agent to get written permission from a sheriff before making an arrest or conducting a search in that sheriff’s jurisdiction. However, he has sought to be a facilitator in this case...more

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