Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy will be sent back to his home state to face 16 federal charges, including assault on a federal officer and conspiracy for his role in organizing and leading the recapture of his cattle in 2014 from the Bureau of Land Management. Photo courtesy Multnomah County Sheriff's Office
LAS VEGAS, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy will be sent back to his home state to enter a plea on 16 felony charges related to the recapture of his cattle from federal law enforcement officers in 2014.
Bundy was arrested at the airport in Portland, Ore., last week, where he'd come presumably to assist with the Oregon standoff led by his sons Ammon and Ryan. He was charged with 16 felonies, including assault on a federal officer, conspiracy, interference with commerce by extortion, and obstruction of justice.
All charges relate to the events of April 12, 2014, when Bundy is said to have organized and led 200 people, some on horseback, who overwhelmed federal law enforcement officials and recaptured 400 head of cattle, owned by Bundy, that had been rounded up and impounded after Bundy had reportedly allowed them to illegally trespass and graze on public land for 20 years.
Bundy was indicted on the charges on Wednesday, and is now in custody in Oregon. He was denied bail earlier this week as prosecutors argued that he is a flight risk. He is scheduled to return to court today.
"Today marks a tremendous step toward ending more than 20 years of law breaking," said Bureau of Land Management Director Neil Kornze. "The nation's public lands belong to all Americans."
Through his attorney, Bundy's son Ammon denounced the charges against his father.
"This is just a continuation of government trying to protect its own power, government taking land that does not belong to them from the people," Ammon Bundy said. Ammon himself is now in jail in Oregon on charged related to the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore., and is also facing indictments from the 2014 cattle recapture.
Ammon Bundy's attorney, Mike Arnold, said, "the Nevada indictment is no surprise."
"It's important for the public to remember that there is a constitutional presumption of innocence in America," he said. "A government charge is proof of nothing."