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Press Release

Two Moffat County Ranchers Indicted For Building Trash Dumps On Public Lan And Illegally Diverting Water

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado

DENVER – Leland Ray (John) Smith, age 70, and his younger brother, Bradford Moroni (Brad) Smith, age 65, both from Craig, Colorado, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on Tuesday, charged with two counts of committing crimes on BLM land, the United States Attorney’s Office and the Bureau of Land Management announced.  The brothers appeared in U.S. District Court in Grand Junction this afternoon, where they were advised by a U.S. Magistrate Judge of their rights and the charges pending against them.  They were released on a personal recognizance bond, and ordered to return to court on Monday, June 24, 2013, at 2:00 p.m. in Grand Junction for arraignment.

According to the indictment, the defendants dug trenches on land owned by the United States and administered by the Bureau of Land Management, into which they dumped and buried garbage, waste, and debris generated from their private property.  They are also accused of using heavy equipment to excavate pits, create artificial ponds, and affect the flow of the Woodbury Gulch water channel – specifically at a riparian area along the Woodbury Gulch, upon land owned by the United States and administered by the Bureau of Land Management.

If convicted, each defendant faces up to 10 years imprisonment and up to a $250,000 fine per count.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

The defendants are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Heldmyer.

The charges contained in the indictment are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.


Updated June 22, 2015