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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Nevada

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Federal Grand Jury In Nevada Indicts Cliven Bundy And Four Others For Felony Crimes Related To 2014 Standoff

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Nevada resident Cliven Bundy and four others were indicted by the federal grand jury today on 16 felony charges related to the armed assault against federal law enforcement officers that occurred in the Bunkerville, Nev. area on April 12, 2014.

U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden for the District of Nevada, Special Agent in Charge Laura Bucheit for the FBI in Nevada, and Bureau of Land Management Director Neil Kornze made the announcement.

“The rule of law has been reaffirmed with these charges,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “Persons who use force and violence against federal law enforcement officers who are enforcing court orders, and nearly causing catastrophic loss of life or injury to others, will be brought to justice.” 

“This indictment sends a resounding message to those who wish to participate in violent acts that our resolve to pursue them and enforce the law remains unwavering,” said Special Agent in Charge Bucheit.

“Today marks a tremendous step toward ending more than 20 years of law breaking,” said Bureau of Land Management Director Neil Kornze. “The nation's public lands belong to all Americans.”

Cliven D. Bundy, 69, of Bunkerville, Nev., Ryan C. Bundy, 43, of Mesquite, Nev., Ammon E. Bundy, 40, of Emmet, Idaho, Ryan W. Payne, 32, of Anaconda, Mont., and Peter T. Santilli, Jr., 50, of Cincinnati, Ohio, are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, one count of conspiracy to impede or injure a federal officer, four counts of using and carrying a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, two counts of assault on a federal officer, two counts of threatening a federal law enforcement officer, three counts of obstruction of the due administration of justice, two counts of interference with interstate commerce by extortion, and one count of interstate travel in aid of extortion.  The indictment also alleges five counts of criminal forfeiture which upon conviction would require forfeiture of property derived from the proceeds of the crimes totaling at least $3 million, as well as the firearms and ammunition possessed and used on April 12, 2014.

The defendants are currently in custody in Oregon. Their arraignments on these charges have not yet been set.  

The indictment states that the charges result from a massive armed assault against federal law enforcement officers that occurred in and around Bunkerville, Nev., on April 12, 2014.  The defendants are alleged to have planned, organized, and led the assault in order to extort the officers into abandoning approximately 400 head of cattle that were in their lawful care and custody. In addition to conspiring among themselves to plan and execute these crimes, the defendants recruited, organized, and led hundreds of other followers in using armed force against law enforcement officers in order to thwart the seizure and removal of Cliven Bundy’s cattle from federal public lands. Bundy had trespassed on the public lands for over 20 years, refusing to obtain the legally-required permits or pay the required fees to keep and graze his cattle on the land.

The indictment charges that Cliven Bundy was the leader, organizer, and chief beneficiary of the conspiracy, and possessed ultimate authority over the conspiratorial operations and received the economic benefits of the extortion.  The remaining defendants are charged as leaders and organizers who conspired with Bundy to achieve his criminal objectives.  

The maximum penalties for the charges are stated below.

Conspiracy to Commit an Offense Against the U.S. – 5 years, $250,000 fine

Conspiracy to Impede and Injure a Federal Law Enforcement Officer – 6 years, $250,000 fine

Assault on a Federal Law Enforcement Officer – 20 years, $250,000 fine

Threatening a Federal Law Enforcement Officer – 10 years, $250,000 fine

Use and Carry of a Firearm in Relation to a Crime of Violence – 5 years minimum and consecutive

Obstruction of the Due Administration of Justice - 10 years, $250,000 fine

Interference with Interstate Commerce by Extortion - 20 years, $250,000 fine

Interstate Travel in Aid of Extortion – 20 years, $250,000 fine

The case is being investigated by the FBI and the Bureau of Land Management.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven W. Myhre and Nicholas D. Dickinson and Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nadia J. Ahmed and Erin M. Creegan.

The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt.  The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.


Violent Crimes
Updated February 17, 2016