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News | An Occupation In Eastern Oregon

7 More Militants Charged In Connection With Malheur Occupation

Blaine Cooper

Blaine Cooper

Nine additional militants associated with the occupation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge were charged Thursday with conspiracy to impede officers of the United States.

Those named in the indictment were Blaine Cooper, Corey Lequieu, Neil Wampler, Jason Charles Blomgren, Darryl William Thorn, Wesley Kjar and Eric Lee Flores. Those seven were arrested and the other two remain at large and, thus, have not been named in the indictment.

Melissa Cooper told OPB her husband was arrested in front of their two girls.

“It was traumatic for them,” Cooper said. “Then the FBI agents…these guys from Arizona, they let the air out of my tires so I was stuck. I don’t have money for new tires, and I’m trying to get them fixed right now.”

The FBI would not confirm the details of the arrest.

Cooper said the agents told her “she was free to go home.”

In the indictment, prosecutors said those charged knowingly conspired “to prevent by force, intimidation, and threats, officers and employees of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service … from discharging the duties of their office at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.”

The seven arrested will appear in court in six different states Thursday and Friday.

On Feb. 4, a federal grand jury returned an indictment to prosecutors charging Ammon Bundy and 15 other militants who had occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

On Feb. 11, law enforcement escorted Rev. Franklin Graham and Nevada state Assemblywoman Michele Fiore from the roadblock outside the refuge to the refuge headquarters. Fiore and Graham then spent about two hours in negotiations with the occupiers.

The occupation ended soon after, with the remaining four occupants surrendering to authorities.

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