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Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, the father of the jailed militia leader whose followers have occupied a federal wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon for the past 40 days, was arrested by FBI agents in Portland,Ore. late Wednesday as he stepped off a flight from Las Vegas.
Bundy’s arrest was confirmed on the website of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, which said he had been booked in to the Multnomah County Detention Center shortly before 11 p.m. local time.
The FBI also confirmed Cliven Bundy’s arrest but declined to provide a reason or other details, saying further information would be released by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Las Vegas Thursday.
The Oregonian newspaper reported that Bundy faces charges related to the 2014 standoff between federal agents and militia members on his Nevada ranch. The charges include conspiracy to interfere with a federal officer, the same charge lodged against two of Bundy’s sons, Ammon and Ryan, for their role in the ongoing standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
The four remaining holdouts occupying the refuge said earlier Wednesday that they would turn themselves in Thursday morning.
Ammon Bundy’s lawyer, Mike Arnold, told The Oregonian that Cliven Bundy was considering joining a news conference held by Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore to discuss the ongoing occupation. Fiore spent most of Wednesday night talking to the remaining militia members as federal agents surrounded the refuge.
“It’s terribly unfortunate the timing of his arrest, given all the progress Assemblywoman Fiore made this evening,” Arnold said. “He was arrested without incident and without violence. That should give [the militia members] comfort in their decision tomorrow
The Bureau of Land Management said at the time of the 2014 standoff that Bundy owed over $1 million in fees and penalties for trespassing cattle on federal property without a permit over 20 years. Bundy refuses to acknowledge federal authority over public lands.
The standoff began after the BLM impounded Bundy’s cattle that were found on federal property. However, federal agents later backed down and allowed Bundy’s supporters to turn the cattle loose.