An Occupation In Eastern Oregon

Police Arrest Man Carrying Rifle Near Malheur Occupation Trial

By Kristian Foden-Vencil (OPB)
Portland, Oregon Sept. 16, 2016 4:17 p.m.
People line up to enter the federal courthouse in downtown Portland on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016.

People line up to enter the federal courthouse in downtown Portland on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016.

Bryan M. Vance / OPB

Police arrested a man carrying a rifle near Portland’s federal courthouse Thursday.

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Security around the courthouse has been elevated during the Malheur Wildlife Refuge occupiers' trial.

Portland Police Sgt. Pete Simpson says Department of Homeland Security officers saw Matthew Thomas Mglej walking towards the security zone carrying something wrapped in a towel.

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“As he got into the protected area, they contacted him, challenged him about what was in the towel. And he sort of let go of the towel and they could see that it was a gun," Simpson said.

Related: Manager of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Testifies At Trial

"They told him to put the gun on the ground. He did and he was taken into custody.”

Simpson says the gun was an old rifle with a magazine, but the magazine didn’t contain any ammunition.

The man was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm; he did not have a concealed weapons permit.

Police arrested the same man outside the courthouse two years ago, naked, playing a violin during a protest. A charge of indecent exposure was later dismissed.

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