Gerald DeLemus, of Rochester, was named in an indictment in Nevada as a “mid-level leader” and organizer of a conspiracy to recruit, organize, train and provide support to armed men and other followers of rancher Cliven Bundy.
DeLemus, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and tea party activist, last year signed on as a member of presidential candidate Donald Trump’s New Hampshire veterans coalition. A July news release posted on Trump’s website listed DeLemus as a co-chair.
Bundy was arrested last month on charges stemming from a 2014 armed standoff with federal officials in Nevada who were rounding up Bundy’s cattle over unpaid grazing fees.
DeLemus, 61, was arrested Thursday and was due to appear federal court in Concord later in the day. Calls to DeLemus’ court-appointed attorney and his wife, Republican state Rep. Susan DeLemus, were not immediately returned.
Federal prosecutors asked a judge to keep DeLemus locked up pending his trial, saying his participation in the Bundy standoff showed his “desire and willingness” to kill police officers.
“DeLemus used guns and threats of violence to intimidate and interfere with federal law enforcement officers,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Zuckerman wrote.
The indictment also names Bundy and at least four others; parts of it are redacted. It says DeLemus “organized and led armed patrols and security checkpoints.”
From April 12 to at least the end of May 2014, DeLemus and others set up the checkpoints and patrols to “prevent and deter law enforcement actions against the conspirators, including recovering the extorted cattle,” according to the indictment.
The charges include conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States; threatening a federal law enforcement officer; obstruction of justice; attempting to impede or injure a federal law enforcement officer; and several firearms charges.
Last year, DeLemus proposed a “Draw Muhammad” art contest of the prophet weeks after two gunmen were killed and a security guard injured outside of a similar contest in Garland, Texas. The contests were planned after a gunman killed 12 people at the Paris magazine Charlie Hebdo for publishing satirical pictures of Muhammad.
DeLemus also traveled to Oregon this year during a similar standoff at a national wildlife refuge.
“I love the Bundys,” DeLemus said last month. “But they made a tactical mistake going out to that refuge. They were portrayed as armed anti-government protesters taking over government buildings. There was a lot of fear.”
At the time of his arrest, DeLemus was running for Strafford County sheriff.