Rancher Cliven Bundy arrested in Oregon

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Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy was arrested late Wednesday in Portland, Ore., on his way to the wildlife refuge occupation he supported.

Local law officials booked Bundy, 74, at Portland International Airport on federal charges stemming from the 2014 armed standoff at his Nevada ranch, The Oregonian reports.

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His arrest is part of escalated efforts by the FBI to end the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in rural Burns, Ore., about a six-hour drive from Portland in the eastern part of the state.

Federal authorities surrounded the four remaining armed occupiers, spurring the self-styled militia members to agree to surrender Thursday morning.

If the surrender proceeds, it will put to an end the standoff, which started Jan. 2 and was led by Ammon and Ryan Bundy, sons of the Nevada rancher.

The Bundys and their supporters took over the refuge to protest the punishment of two allies for arson on nearby federal land. But they quickly turned the effort into a statement against federal land ownership more broadly, demanding that the refuge and other pieces of federal land be given to local landowners.

The elder Bundy came to national attention when he brought scores of armed militiamen to Nevada to ward off federal authorities.

Bundy has for years grazed cattle on land owned by the Bureau of Land Management, racking up more than $1 million in unpaid grazing fees, fines and related costs. He refused to recognize federal authority over the land.

The younger Bundys and several others were arrested in late January at a traffic stop near the refuge that turned violent. Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, 54, was killed in the confrontation.

Ammon Bundy encouraged the remaining occupiers to leave after he was arrested, and all but four complied.