February 11, 2016

FBI Arrests All Remaining Occupiers at Oregon Wildlife Refuge

The FBI today brought the last four remaining Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupiers into custody without incident.

Agents arrested the occupiers as they walked out of the refuge to the FBI checkpoint. They face arraignment before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Portland on Friday, February 12, 2016.

Today marked day 41 of the occupation. At times, there were dozens of highly armed militants occupying, visiting, and supplying the refuge.

A federal grand jury last week indicted 16 people with connections to the occupation. Each faces one federal felony count of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats.

“Much work is left to assess the crime scene and damage to the refuge and tribal artifacts,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “We are committed to seeing the job done and to pursue justice for the crimes committed during the illegal occupation.”

No one was injured during today’s arrests and no shots were fired. Last night, the FBI moved to contain the remaining occupiers by placing agents at barricades around the area where the occupiers were camping. Greg Bretzing, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Portland Field Office, said at the time that investigators reached a point where it became necessary to take action to ensure people’s safety.

“It has never been the FBI’s desire to engage these armed occupiers in any way other than through dialogue,” he said, “and to that end, the FBI has negotiated with patience and restraint in an effort to resolve the situation peacefully.