The US Attorney’s office has issued a federal indictment against Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy following his arrest at the Portland International airport late Wednesday.
The complaint claims the rancher spearheaded a conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, in addition to five other charges: Assault on a Federal Law Enforcement Officer; Use and Carry of a Firearm In Relation to a Crime of Violence; Obstruction of the Administration of Justice; Interference with Commerce by Extortion; and, Aiding and Abetting.
From the indictment, discussing the 2014 “Bundy standoff” in Bunkerville:
“The 200 Followers in the wash included a significant number brandishing or raising their assault rifles in front of the officers. Some of these gunmen took tactically superior positions on high ground, while others moved in and out of the crowd, masking their movements behind other unarmed Followers. The most immediate threat to the officers came from the bridges where gunmen took sniper positions behind concrete barriers, their assault rifles aimed directly at the officers below.”
“To achieve his objectives,” the complaint reads, “BUNDY and his co-conspirators recruited, organized and led a force of hundreds of people to threaten and use force and violence to prevent the law enforcement officers from discharging their duties and to coerce their consent to abandon the cattle that were, pursuant to court order, lawfully in their care and custody and which they were duty bound to protect.”
The indictment goes on to say officers “believed they were going to be shot and killed,” suggesting some of the people who stood by Bundy during the epic standoff could be charged as well.
“Seeing the combined force arrayed against them – an organized crowd of more than 400, more than 60 among the crowd carrying or brandishing rifles or pistols, 40 supporters on horseback, militia snipers concealed on the bridges above them with their rifles zeroed-in on the officers, militia gunmen intermingled with the crowd using the unarmed people to shield their movement, militia gunmen in over-watch positions on high ground – the officers believed they were going to be shot and killed.”
Bundy faces 42 years in prison and up to $1.5 million in fines if convicted.
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