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More Arrests As FBI Negotiates With Remaining Militants

Bradley Parks
Several residents of Harney County told OPB they were happy that law enforcement arrested eight occupiers.

The FBI took three additional militants into custody Wednesday, as occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge began to trickle away from the site they have held for 26 days, and as the militants arrested Tuesday faced indictment in federal court.

Duane Leo Ehmer of Irrigon, the the first Oregon resident to face charges since the standoff between occupiers and the FBI escalated earlier this week, turned himself in at a checkpoint outside the refuge, as did Dylan Wade Anderson of Provo, Utah, and Jason Patrick of Bonaire, Georgia, police said.

All were in contact with law enforcement prior to their arrests, according to the FBI, which spent much of Wednesday in active negotiations aimed at bringing closure to the standoff outside Burns, Oregon.

Another five occupiers were allowed to leave the refuge after they passed through law enforcement checkpoints.

Their exodus followed calls by incarcerated leader Ammon Bundy to give up the occupation Wednesday.

“To those remaining at the refuge, I love you. Let us take this fight from here. Please stand down. Go home and hug your families. This fight is ours for now in the courts. Please go home,” Bundy said through a statement released by his attorney.

Bundy issued the statement after he and seven others appeared in federal court in Portland to face charges associated with the occupation. An eighth occupier who was arrested in Arizona Tuesday also faces federal charges.

Speaking with OPB Wednesday night, militant David Fry said five people remained in the occupied refuge. He said that he personally had no plans to leave at this time.

When asked about Bundy’s call to leave the refuge, Fry said, “We have new leaders now and new plans.”

The armed group of militants, led by Ammon Bundy, first took over the wildlife refuge Jan. 2, following a protest over the sentencing of local ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond. At the height of the occupation, their numbers reached dozens.

The leaders of the occupation, including Ammon and Ryan Bundy, were arrested Tuesday afternoon, and one militant — Arizona rancher LaVoy Finicum — was killed during the arrest operation.