Update: The last occupier, David Fry, has surrendered, after an hours-long negotiation with the FBI Thursday morning.
The patriarch of the Bundy family, scofflaw Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, was arrested at the Portland airport late Wednesday night — apparently in transit to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, where the weeks-long militant occupation may finally be drawing to a close, on day 41.
Here’s what you need to know.
Cliven Bundy was arrested?
Yes. Cliven Bundy, father of Ammon and Ryan, who’s refused to pay more than $1 million in federal grazing fees, has joined his sons in jail after being arrested Wednesday night. You can view his booking record here.
Why was Cliven Bundy at PDX airport?
Earlier Wednesday, the FBI tightened its perimeter on the last four occupiers of the federal refuge, and negotiations to end the standoff intensified.
Instead of accepting an impending resolution, the Bundy Ranch reportedly sent out an email to supporters — a call to arms seeking to rebuild the occupation, and announcing that Cliven Bundy himself was on his way:
“WAKE UP AMERICA!
WAKE UP WE THE PEOPLE!
WAKE UP PATRIOTS!
WAKE UP MILITA! [sic]
CLIVEN BUNDY IS HEADING TO THE HARNEY COUNTY RESOURCE CENTER (Refuge) IN BURNS OREGON.
Your presence is requested NOW.”
Heeding the advance notice, federal authorities collared Bundy on his arrival at the airport, arresting him, reportedly, on charges related to the infamous 2014 standoff at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada.
Does Bundy’s arrest mean the militia standoff is finally over?
Prior to Bundy’s arrest Wednesday night, a plan had been brokered by the FBI, in conjunction with Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, for the remaining occupiers to surrender at 8 a.m. local time (11 a.m. Eastern) Thursday.
Who is Fiore, and how did she get involved?
Fiore is a Nevada politician, now seeking election to the U.S. Congress, who likes to pose with firearms. Throughout this crisis, she has been sympathetic to the occupiers’ anti-federal-government ideology.
She spent much of Wednesday evening on the phone with the occupiers, seeking to de-escalate a potentially deadly confrontation with the FBI. The call was live-streamed on YouTube to an audience of tens of thousands. (You can listen to that hair-raising audio here.)
As stipulated in the negotiations, Fiore will be at the refuge Thursday to help the occupiers turn themselves in — assuming none of the final four militants had an overnight change of heart.