In a statement, the FBI announced the arrest of three more men who had been occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. They, like Ammon Bundy and the others, have been charged with felony conspiracy to impede federal officers.
Early Wednesday morning, the FBI and the Oregon State Police set up check points along the major roads leading to and from the refuge. From the statement:
In the hours prior to the checkpoints, several vehicles are known to have left the area. Since the establishment of checkpoints, a total of eight people have left the refuge. Of those, the FBI released five and arrested three.
At approximately 3:30 pm, the FBI made probable cause arrests of Duane Leo Ehmer, age 45, of Irrigon, Oregon, and Dylan Wade Anderson, age 34, of Provo, Utah. At approximately, 7:40 pm, agents made a probable cause arrest of Jason S. Patrick, age 43, of Bonaire, Georgia.
All three men surrendered themselves willingly. Those who were released are not identified. “The FBI and our partners continue to work around the clock to empty the refuge of the armed occupiers in the safest way possible,” the statement concludes.
The FAA declared a no-fly zone over Burns on Wednesday afternoon, apparently at the FBI’s request. The reason given, per the FAA’s notice to pilots, is “TO PROVIDE A SAFE ENVIRONMENT FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITIES.” Also: “ONLY RELIEF AIRCRAFT OPERATIONS UNDER DIRECTION OF FBI ARE AUTHORIZED IN THE AIRSPACE.”
A gentleman who answered the phone when Gawker called the number listed as the “Point of Contact” said, “I’m not taking calls on that right now. Thank you though.”
The FBI has been staging out of the Burns Municipal Airport. Asked whether he knew anything about the flight restrictions, the airport’s manager, Jeff Cotton, laughed and told Gawker, “You’re asking the wrong guy.” That’s probably true.