Friday, July 07, 2017

Refuge occupier Eric Lee Flores sentenced to 2 years probation, 5 months home detention

A federal judge on Thursday sentenced Eric Lee Flores to two years of probation, including five months of home detention, for his role in the January 2016 occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Flores, 23, was the second defendant to plead guilty on June 9, 2016, admitting he conspired to impede federal employees from carrying out their work at the federal wildlife sanctuary in Harney County through intimidation, threat or force. In an interview with FBI agents, Flores said he brought up to seven guns -- including two rifles and handguns -- to the refuge and handed them out to other occupiers, Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Gabriel said. He made at least three trips to the refuge with a co-defendant and spent a lot of time in the refuge watchtower on guard duty before leaving Jan. 26, 2016, Gabriel said. "I thought I was doing the right thing,'' Flores said in court when he entered a guilty plea. "I thought it was public land.'' The 23-year-old lives on the Tulalip Reservation in Washington and has been working for the Tulalip natural resources department in its fish hatchery business, said his lawyer Ernest Warren Jr. He also has volunteered as an emergency medical technician with the Snohomish County Medical Reserve Corps, Warren said. He has a two-year-old child who was born around the time of the refuge takeover. His lawyer called Flores' participation in the occupation "aberrant behavior'' and said the 30 days Flores was held in custody after his arrest was "enlightening'' and "frightening'' for him...more

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