Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy will remain behind bars while he faces a half-dozen felony charges in the April 2014 armed standoff with law enforcement in Bunkerville.
A federal magistrate in Portland, Ore. Tuesday ordered the defiant Bundy patriarch held without bail after prosecutors called him “lawless and violent.” U.S. marshals will return him to Las Vegas to answer the charges.
Bundy, 69, poses a danger to the community and might skip future court dates, according to the prosecutors’ 34-page memorandum.
Prosecutors said Bundy refuses to obey court orders, has used force and violence in the past against authorities, “nearly causing catastrophic loss of life or injury to others,” and has pledged to use force again.
BLM and National Park Service rangers were outnumbered 4-to-1 by Bundy and some 270 supporters at the height of the standoff, and rangers were threatened by snipers during the confrontation, which attracted international attention.
Bundy and his co-conspirators used “deceit and deception” on the Internet to recruit hundreds of supporters across the country to their cause, prosecutors allege. Militia gunman who came to the Bundy family’s aid from more than 10 states during the showdown near Bundy’s ranch near Bunkerville remain at large waiting for another call-to-arms, they wrote.
Prosecutors revealed that the federal investigation began the day after the April 12, 2014, Bunkerville confrontation and continues today. FBI agents and others have worked to identify those who assaulted government officials and to determine their connection to Bundy, prosecutors wrote. More defendants are expected to be charged.
The government has interviewed hundreds of witnesses, executed more than 40 search warrants, analyzed hundreds of thousands of pages of documents (mostly from social media), reviewed thousands of pages of phone records and examined hundreds of hours of audio and video recordings, prosecutors said.
“The evidence overwhelmingly establishes that Bundy was the leader, organizer and main beneficiary of the conspiracy to impede and assault federal officers,” prosecutors wrote.
Bundy was charged in the six-count criminal complaint in Las Vegas last Thursday. He was arrested by FBI agents at Portland International Airport while traveling to Eastern Oregon, where he planned to support the four remaining holdouts occupying a government wildlife refuge.
The FBI complaint charged Bundy with leading a “massive armed assault” that forced federal officials to abandon roughly 400 cattle they had gathered near his ranch. He had “trespassed his cattle” on public land for more than 20 years, refusing to pay for required permits and thwarting federal court orders, the complaint alleged.
Felony charges in the complaint include conspiracy, extortion, assault on a federal law enforcement officer, obstruction of justice and carrying a firearm in a crime of violence.
The complaint details the roles of four unnamed co-conspirators in the 2014 standoff, all of whom were arrested in the Oregon takeover. Bundy’s sons Ammon, the alleged leader in Oregon, and Ryan were among those taken into custody there.