Cliven Bundy, the father of Oregon militia leader Ammon Bundy, was arrested late Wednesday after flying into Portland and now faces federal charges in connection with a 2014 standoff with authorities at his Nevada ranch, according to multiple reports.
Bundy, 74, faces a conspiracy charge of interfering with a federal officer, reports the Oregonian. That’s the same charge his sons Ammon and his brother Ryan Bundy face following their arrest last month after they and other militia members took over the federal Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns, Oregon.
Cliven Bundy’s reported charge is related to a 2014 confrontation with federal agents from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management who had impounded his cattle that were found on federal property in Nevada, the Oregonian reported.
Federal authorities backed away from that standoff at the time, but they claim Bundy has not paid grazing fees on federal land and that he owes some $1 million in unpaid fees and penalties.
The Nevada rancher was arrested after he arrived at Portland International Airport from Las Vegas on Wednesday night, reports the Associated Press, which reports he was booked into the Multnomah County Jail shortly before 11 p.m.
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The arrest occurred as FBI agents moved in on the Oregon wildlife refuge where four armed occupiers are still holed up. The holdouts are reportedly David Fry, 27, Jeff Banta, 46, and married couple Sean and Sandy Anderson, 48 and 47, respectively.
It was not clear if Bundy’s arrest would derail efforts to get the remaining occupiers to surrender without bloodshed. Michele Fiore, a Nevada lawmaker who also flew into Portland from Las Vegas, is trying to help negotiate a surrender, reports NBC News.
“I need you to stay alive. The only way we’re going to be able to write your story and write your book is if you stay alive,” Fiore told the occupiers in a conference call late Wednesday. “There’s been one martyr too many.”
The Oregonian reported that before his arrest, Cliven Bundy had been considering joining Fiore at a news conference that had been planned for Thursday morning in Portland to talk about the refuge takeover.