More defendants charged in Bunkerville standoff
LAS VEGAS — The federal grand jury in Nevada has charged 14 more defendants in connection with the armed assault against federal law enforcement officers that occurred in the Bunkerville, Nev. area on April 12, 2014, over the removal of Cliven Bundy’s cows from public lands.
U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden for the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Laura Bucheit for the FBI in Nevada made the announcements.
“This investigation began the day after the assault against federal law enforcement officers and continues to this day,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “We will continue to work to identify the assaulters and their role in the assault and the aftermath, in order to ensure that justice is served.”
A superseding criminal indictment was returned by the grand jury on Wednesday and now charges a total of 19 defendants. The 14 new defendants are Melvin 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.
Twelve defendants were arrested earlier Thursday. Two defendants, Brian D. Cavalier and Blaine Cooper, were already in federal custody in the District of Oregon.
“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 Bucheit.
The newly-added defendants are charged with 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. The indictment also alleges 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.
Charges against the original five 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, remain the same.
The superseding indictment states that the charges result from a massive armed assault against federal law enforcement officers that occurred in and around Bunkerville, Nev., on April 12, 2014. The defendants are alleged to have planned, organized, and led the assault in order to extort the officers into abandoning approximately 400 head of cattle that were in their lawful care and custody. In addition to conspiring among themselves to plan and execute these crimes, the defendants recruited, organized, and led hundreds of other followers in using armed force against law enforcement officers in order to thwart the seizure and removal of Cliven Bundy’s cattle from federal public lands. Bundy had trespassed on the public lands for over 20 years, refusing to obtain the legally-required permits or pay the required fees to keep and graze his cattle on the land.
The superseding indictment charges that Cliven Bundy was the leader, organizer, and chief beneficiary of the conspiracy, and possessed ultimate authority over the conspiratorial operations and received the economic benefits of the extortion. The remaining defendants are charged as leaders and organizers who conspired with Bundy to achieve his criminal objectives.
The maximum penalties for the charges are stated below.
Conspiracy to Commit an Offense Against the United States – 5 years, $250,000 fine
Conspiracy to Impede and Injure a Federal Law Enforcement Officer – 6 years, $250,000 fine
Assault on a Federal Law Enforcement Officer – 20 years, $250,000 fine
Threatening a Federal Law Enforcement Officer – 10 years, $250,000 fine
Use and Carry of a Firearm in Relation to a Crime of Violence – 5 years minimum and consecutive
Obstruction of the Due Administration of Justice – 10 years, $250,000 fine
Interference with Interstate Commerce by Extortion – 20 years, $250,000 fine
Interstate Travel in Aid of Extortion – 20 years, $250,000 fine
The case is being investigated by the FBI and the Bureau of Land Management. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven W. Myhre and Nicholas D. Dickinson and Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nadia J. Ahmed and Erin M. Creegan.