- via Facebook
- Eric Parker (center) with Idaho III Percent President Brandon Curtiss (left) and Oregon mine owner Rick Barclay (right) during a protest against the Bureau of Land Management office in Medford last April.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced March 3 that a federal grand jury in Nevada has charged 14 people—including several Idahoans—with felonies related to a standoff at the Bunkerville, Nev., ranch of Cliven Bundy in 2014.
Idaho defendants include Eric J. Parker, 32, of Hailey; O. Scott Drexler, 44, of Challis; Steven A. Stewart, 36, of Hailey; and Todd C. Engel, 48, of Boundary County.
Parker, who is listed as the vice president of the self-styled patriot group Idaho III Percent, gained worldwide notoriety during the Bundy standoff for being photographed taking a sniper position on an overpass overlooking federal officials.
The defendants have been charged with one count each of felony conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States and conspiracy to impede or injure a federal officer. They've also each been charged with counts of using and carrying a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, assault on a federal officer, threatening a federal law enforcement officer, obstruction of due administration of justice, interference with interstate commerce by extortion and interstate travel in aid of extortion.
In addition, the grand jury indictment alleges five counts of criminal forfeiture. In the event of convictions, the defendants would forfeit property derived from their crimes—at least $5 million in sum—and firearms and ammunition possessed and used by the defendants during an incident on April 2, 2014, when defendants allegedly attempted to extort federal law enforcement officials to abandon approximately 400 head of cattle belonging to rancher Cliven Bundy. Bundy had allegedly been grazing the cattle illegally on federal land. The defendants also allegedly recruited and organized others to use armed force against federal agents as they executed their duties.
If the defendants are convicted, they could face five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, six years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy to impede and injure a federal law enforcement officer, 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for assault on a federal law enforcement officer, 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for obstruction of the due administration of justice, 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for interference with interstate commerce by extortion, and 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for interstate travel in aid of extortion.
For the use and carry of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, the defendants could face a five-year mandatory-minimum sentence to be served consecutively.
Meanwhile, a rally has already been announced via Facebook calling for Parker's release. According to the posting, from the 1776Revolutionist community, supporters will gather at the Idaho Statehouse on Friday, March 11 at 1 p.m.