Tag Archives: Bureau of Land Management

DOJ Names 14 New Defendants Facing Charges for Bundy Ranch Standoff

The Department of Justice announced on Thursday that 14 new defendants will face charges in connection to an April 2014 standoff between the Bureau of Land Management and armed protesters supporting rancher Cliven Bundy in a dispute over cattle grazing rights.

According to the DOJ news release, the new defendants facing charges areMelvin D. Bundy, 41, of Round Mountain, Nev., David H. Bundy, 39, of Delta, Utah, Brian D. Cavalier, 44, of Bunkerville, Nev., Blaine Cooper, 36, of Humboldt, Ariz., Gerald A. DeLemus, 61, of Rochester, N.H., Eric J. Parker, 32, of Hailey, Idaho, O. Scott Drexler, 44, of Challis, Idaho, Richard R. Lovelien, 52, of Westville, Okla., Steven A. Stewart, 36, of Hailey, Idaho, Todd C. Engel, 48, of Boundary County, Idaho, Gregory P. Burleson, 52, of Phoenix, Ariz., Joseph D. O’Shaughnessy, 43, of Cottonwood, Ariz., and Micah L. McGuire, 31, and Jason D. Woods, 30, both of Chandler, Ariz.

Truth in Media reported March 3 on defendant Jerry DeLemus’ arrest by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents in New Hampshire. The DOJ’s statement notes that all 14 defendants are now in custody.

[RELATED: Exclusive Interview: Sheriff Mack on the Oregon Standoff and What the Media Isn’t Reporting]

The charges against the 14 new defendants include “one count of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States and conspiracy to impede or injure a federal officer, and at least one count of using and carrying a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, assault on a federal officer, threatening a federal law enforcement officer, obstruction of the due administration of justice, interference with interstate commerce by extortion, and interstate travel in aid of extortion.” Additionally, the defendants face “five counts of criminal forfeiture which upon conviction would require forfeiture of property derived from the proceeds of the crimes totaling at least $3 million, as well as the firearms and ammunition possessed and used on April 12, 2014.

The specific situation referred to in the indictments appears to be an April 12, 2014 incident in which CNN notes BLM agents seized and then released around 400 of Cliven Bundy’s cattle due to what the BLM called “escalating tensions” among the armed protesters.

[RELATED: Oregon Standoff: Cliven Bundy Arrested, Occupiers Say They Will Leave Refuge]

The maximum penalties for the charges facing the 14 defendants can be seen below.


Five other defendants, “Cliven D. Bundy, 69, of Bunkerville, Nev., Ryan C. Bundy, 43, of Mesquite, Nev., Ammon E. Bundy, 40, of Emmet, Idaho, Ryan W. Payne, 32, of Anaconda, Mont., and Peter T. Santilli, Jr., 50, of Cincinnati, Ohio,” had previously been charged in connection with the standoff.

These indictments and subsequent arrests send an irrefutable message to the American people that our determination remains steadfast to protect them and pursue individuals who participate in violent acts of this nature,” said Special Agent in Charge Laura Bucheit according to the news release.

On Thursday, former N.H. GOP chair Jack Kimball, a supporter of defendant Jerry DeLemus, called him “a good and Patriotic Marine” who “is now being prosecuted for standing up for Liberty.

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Oath Keepers Muster in Oregon to Prevent 139-Year-Old Gold Mines from Being Seized by BLM

Earlier this month, officials with the Bureau of Land Management sent a letter ordering local miners working at the Sugar Pine Mining Claim in the Galice Mining District near Merlin, OR to vacate the property that locals have mined for the past 139 years. Raw Story notes the fact that the owners of the claim subsequently contacted the Oath Keepers of Josephine County, an organization of ex-and-current military and law enforcement professionals who have sworn an oath to refuse orders that violate the US Constitution, who then called for militia members from around the country to gather at the mining claim in order to ensure that the Bureau of Land Management respects the miners’ Fifth Amendment right to due process.

As armed Oath Keepers began to gather at the site on Tuesday, SWAT vehicles were seen staging nearby, raising fears that a Bundy ranch style standoff might take place.

The dispute centers around the Sugar Pine Mining Claim itself, which Congress set aside for local miners in 1876, allowing them to establish their own rules and regulations. KDRV-TV notes that the Bureau of Land Management says that the claim does not allow the miners to sidestep its regulatory authority as the claim has changed hands in the past, but locals say that the claim’s community regulatory system has been grandfathered in and that, absent intervention through a specific process by the Department of the Interior, BLM lacks the authority to regulate the mines. The Galice Mining District Executive Committee said in a statement, “Under the 1955 Surface Resources Act, claims of this age have exclusive surface rights unless the Department of Interior utilized a mechanism outlined in that Act to sever those surface rights. Demands to BLM to produce evidence of their surface authority in accordance to the 1955 Act have thus far garnered only ‘because we say so’ answers and numerous stonewalling tactics. The Stop Orders came after several months of back and forth maneuvering from both sides, and are clearly retaliatory in nature.”

The stakes are high, as The Blaze notes that the Galice Mining District has already yielded over 10 million ounces of gold, with experts saying that 90 million more ounces are available to be extracted.

An unconfirmed report cited by The Shasta Lantern claims that “local BLM officials have threatened to burn the buildings down if they are not removed by [April 25].” Locals fear that the Bureau of Land Management will attempt to seize the property before the owners of the mines get the opportunity to defend themselves in court.

Arizona State Militia member Blaine Cooper said in a YouTube clip that he posted while on his way to the Galice Mining District, “That’s what being an American’s all about… We don’t allow our neighbor to be enslaved or beaten or tortured by government jackboots because they want to steal our land and our resources to keep us under their thumb.”

Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel has been attempting to mediate the dispute between the two parties and said he would step in if the tensions escalated.

Jim Whittington, an official with the Bureau of Land Management, said that BLM does not intend to seize the land without due process. Said Whittington to KDRV-TV, “We’ve sent them those letters. They also have the right to appeal our notice, that it requires either a plan of operation or notice, and some informal contacts with their lawyer… it sounds like they may appeal. So if they appeal, that starts another administrative appeal process.”

Oath Keepers representative Mary Emerick said, “We defend the Constitution… And we are here just to make sure that they receive their Fifth Amendment rights which is due process… Sometimes that’s going to take days or even weeks, and we are preparing for this to potentially last that long.”

A statement on the website of the Oath Keepers of Josephine County which calls for help from Oath Keepers from around the country says, “NOTICE: This is NOT a standoff with BLM. We are NOT promoting any confrontation with BLM. This is a security operation for the protection of Constitutional Rights. If you have a different agenda outside of the above peaceful mission statement, we don’t need your assistance. Please DO NOT make any type of threatening phone calls to the local BLM or USFS as it undermines our mission, professionalism and is unwarranted. Thank you.”

Update April 16, 3:54 PM: The title of this article has been slightly modified to improve its readability.

Exclusive Videos: Fed’s 260K Acre Land Grab At Vail Lake

The issue of federal agencies seizing public and private land is gaining more national attention, largely due to media coverage of the Bundy Ranch conflict with the Bureau of Land Management in Nevada. This attention has been prompting others to come forward to share their experiences dealing with federal land seizures in the United States.

Another individual is shedding light on these disturbing practices. In videos exclusive to Benswann.com, land owner Bill Johnson discussed the attempts from the BLM and the Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP) to take control of enormous, valuable properties in California.

Johnson owns approximately 11,000 acres of land in Riverside County in Temecula, California. His property includes Vail Lake which spans about 1,000 acres. Three million acres of wilderness surround the property. The BLM manages land on the northern and southern sides of this massive property, and both the BLM and the  MSHCP have been claiming “habitat conservation protection” rights on about 260,000 acres of land to aggressively restrict what Johnson and other land owners do with their property. Johnson said that these agencies are actively trying to push him and other land owners out of the area with endless regulations and intimidation.

Johnson said that tactics to drive out land owners included lying to them about the process being voluntary and falsely promising to purchase the land legally. He explained that the main strategy of the BLM and MSHCP is to render most of the Riverside County land useless to private owners in order to gain complete control. When MSHCP declared the land “habitat”,  farming, building, or any other developments became impossible, and the values of the various properties have been dramatically reduced. In the video below, Johnson describes previous dealings with federal agents seizing property.

Johnson believes that “habitat conservation” is simply a ruse to coerce him and others into surrendering their land to federal authorities. He said that the goal of the MSHCP is a “very coordinated and concerted effort” to devalue property and re-market it to developers who give large campaign contributions to politicians who are responsible for driving out the original land owners.

Johnson said that he heard Karin Watts-Bazan, of Riverside County Counsel, inform a property owner that “this is our core area property. We want to buy it, just try to build on it.”

Johnson has begun forbidding any government agent coming onto his property without a court order. He intends to pursue taking 200,000 acres out of county control, with the help of other land owners, and turning it into a “sovereign city”. He rejects the idea of MSHCP planning and would work with others to have their own land planning. Johnson believes this is the best way to raise the value of their properties and “unleash an economic boom out here that’s had a wet blanket over it for the benefit of a bunch of builders that are outside the area.”

Johnson said that on Memorial Day there will be a “massive demonstration” of land owners who are standing up to the federal manipulation of their property. He believes that freedom is “irrepressible” despite the attempts made by the government to impose tyranny. In the video below, Johnson explains freedom and optimism despite the circumstances.

“Freedom is in our DNA,” Johnson said. “It’s in our souls, it is our God-given right, and people want it. And I think you can squash it. I think you can run code enforcement all over it, you can intimidate it with guns and badges, you can call their property ‘habitat’, you can do all those things but at the end of the day, freedom is going to well up. And it’s welling up now. This is, after 20 years, finally our moment.”

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Utah Congressman Makes Push To Disarm BLM, IRS

Washington- Congressman Chris Stewart (R-Utah) has called to cut funding for excessive “paramilitary units” used by agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management in the wake of the standoff between Cliven Bundy and the BLM.

Stewart is worried about the heavily armed forces at the helm of the BLM, and he is also concerned about the same type of forces that other federal agencies have in place. On Tuesday Stewart spoke off the House floor, criticizing the fact that several federal departments have incredibly overwhelming, and largely unnecessary, firepower.

Earlier this month it was reported that numerous armed agents surrounded Bundy’s property in response to a dispute over grazing rights. After a tense standoff between the agents and protesters, the BLM forces left the area and ended up pursuing alternative methods to approach the conflict with Bundy.

While Stewart is in a neutral position regarding the incident between Bundy and the BLM, he was troubled that the agency had reacted by bringing its own special forces to the Bundy Ranch.

“There are lots of people who are really concerned when the BLM shows up with its own SWAT team,” Stewart said. “They’re regulatory agencies; they’re not paramilitary units, and I think that concerns a lot of us.” 

Stewart would prefer that the BLM and others use local police resources instead of massive squads such as the ones that were called to the Bundy Ranch. “They should do what anyone else would do,” he told the Salt Lake Tribune. “Call the local sheriff, who has the capability to intervene in situations like that.” 

The Department of The Interior defended the use of special forces in the Bundy-BLM conflict, saying that the forces were there to protect the public and federal agents.

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Exclusive: Sources Inside The BLM and Las Vegas Metro Say Feds Are Planning A Raid On Bundy Home

Bunkerville, NEVADA, April 14, 2014– As reported yesterday, hundreds of federal agents are still at the Bundy Ranch and the area continues its status as a no-fly zone. Despite major media reports that the Nevada Bureau of Land Management is retreating, the remaining activity that still surrounds the ranch illustrates a different scenario.

Not only is the BLM not actually backing off of Cliven Bundy, Sheriff Richard Mack of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association has revealed stunning information: on Ben Swann’s radio program, Mack said that he has received intelligence from multiple, credible sources inside the BLM and the Las Vegas Metro that there is “no question” that the federal government is planning a raid on the Bundy home and the homes of their children who live on the property.

According to Mack, the so-called retreat was nothing more than theatrics. “It was a ploy to get people to back off, to get people out of the way. They weren’t expecting us to get this amount of people here. They were surprised by the numbers and so they wanted a way to get us out of here. This was a ploy to get us out of here and then they’re going after the Bundys.”  Mack said that when he was at the Bundy ranch on Saturday there were an estimated 600 to 800 protesters present when federal agents were releasing the cattle.

“If they do that kind of raid, I don’t believe there’s any way that could happen without bloodshed,” Mack told Swann.

Mack spoke about the tactic that protesters could use by putting women at the front of the line facing the federal agents to make them think carefully before opening fire.

“I would’ve gone next. I would’ve been the next one to be killed. I’m not afraid to die here. I’m willing to die here,” said Mack.

Mack said that he had been told by Bundy that the federal government is actively shutting down the ranching industry, specifically in Clark County. He also revealed that there used to be 53 ranches in Clark County. All of those ranchers have been put out of business, except for Bundy who is still trying to hold on. “Every American should be outraged by it,”  said Mack. The ranch has been in Bundy’s family since 1877.

Mack decried Nevada governor Brian Sandoval for declaring this situation unconstutional while doing nothing to stop it. “He could have called in the state’s national guard, could have called in the sheriff’s office, could have called in highway patrol, and he’s done nothing except assail what’s going on. That’s easy, that’s cowardly.”

Sheriff Mack also called out media including radio host Glenn Beck who he says is siding with the BLM on this issue.

“I can’t believe that there are some Americans, and some media like Glenn Beck, that are supporting the BLM in this and it’s absolutely disgraceful.”

You can listen to the full interview, including Sheriff Mack’s stunning statement, above.



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