Oregon Standoff and Bundy Ranch Plea Deals Abound, but What About Those Malheur Explosives?


IMAGE SOURCE: everipedia.com

By CHERI ROBERTS for Challenging the Rhetoric

Ammon Bundy and Ryan Payne showed up in Harney County, Oregon, last year touting the Constitution to anyone that would listen as they went about scouting locations and surveilling law enforcement; just as the two had done in Bunkerville, Nevada in 2014. By December 2015 however, the two had set-up the Harney County Committee of Safety with the counsel and help of Michael Emry and others who espouse sovereign citizen ideologies.

Emry, a self-styled reporter, and owner of The Voice of Idaho (TVOI), was allegedly at the January Oregon Standoff as a journalist. He is now facing heavy federal charges related to a Browning M2 .50 cal. machine gun and more.

Emry traveled from Idaho to Oregon in late December 2015 in a van loaned to him by Ammon Bundy. After convoying* from Idaho to Oregon with the Idaho Three Percent militia, Emry stayed in a house in Burns, Oregon with A. Bundy, Payne, and other militants. Emery spent copious amounts of time in Burns as well as at the refuge during the Standoff.

On January 2, A. Bundy, Payne, and others took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (MNWR) announcing their intention to occupy the land indefinitely, although the occupation lasted only 41-days. In a recent motion filed by A. Bundy’s attorney, A. Bundy claims brother Ryan Bundy was the first to arrive at Malheur for the takeover. R. Bundy told media the fact they were armed, showed they were serious.

By all accounts, however, including his own, Payne is the one responsible for spearheading the surprise takeover of the refuge. Payne is an Army veteran from Montana who was a leader with Operation Mutual Defense (OMD), formerly known as Operation Mutual Aid (OMA) before that organization split into two. The split came as a result of Payne’s desire to go on the offensive whether his militia was called upon for help or not. Payne, believed he had the lawful authority to kill law enforcement.

Neither A. Bundy nor Payne told the locals who they had been courting, that they intended to make an armed stand holding the federal facility for ransom,  allegedly in exchange for the freedom of Harney County ranchers Dwight and Stephen Hammond, and the release of the federally controlled land itself.

Many militia leaders from across the country, like Melvin Lee, Mark McConnell, Lewis Arthur and Scott Woods, voiced grave concerns over Payne’s involvement, and his intentions, in the takeover. His reputation had proceeded his actions in Oregon and failed attempts were made by many to get him to leave.

Payne was widely known as a hot-head who sought situations in which to go on an offensive, versus taking a defensive posture, in order to kick-start a revolution. It is Payne that set up the sniper teams to target federal agents during the 2014 Nevada armed standoff near Bundy Ranch. Mike Vanderboegh, founder of the militia group the Three Percenters called Payne a “sociopath” repeatedly in a blog post after the 2014 standoff.

Although there were guns galore at Malheur, the extent of weaponry the militants ultimately had is still a bit of a mystery nearly six months after the occupation has ended. Some documents, testimony, sources and news reports have fueled speculations about explosives, including grenades and IEDs.

According to the arresting document from the January 26 arrests of occupation leaders, including A. Bundy, R. Bundy and Payne,

“The BLM was notified later that day by a Harney County Sheriffs Officer that a source informed him that the group controlled the MNWR and had explosives, night vision goggles, and weapons and that if they didn’t get the fight they wanted out there they would bring the fight to town. ”

All 26 co-defendants in Oregon have been charged with one count of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 372. Some have additional charges for other acts at Malheur, while others face steeper charges in Nevada for their participation in the related Bundy Ranch standoff. However, none of the 19 defendants in the Nevada case; nor any of the 26 in the Oregon case are currently facing any charges related to explosives.

Emry, a known bomb maker, could still have a charge added pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 5861(d) for illegally possessing a destructive device – specifically, a blasting cap which is a detonator for a bomb discovered at the time of his May 6 arrest at a John Day trailer park.

More than a month after Emry’s arrest, another militia member and associate of LaVoy Finicum, the rancher who was killed during the January 26, arrests of the Malheur occupation leadership, was also arrested. William Keebler, the commander of a citizen militia group in Stockton, Utah allegedly tried to detonate a bomb at a BLM facility in Arizona unaware that his small organization was highly infiltrated by federal authorities at the time.

Keebler had previously worked the security detail at Finicum’s Kanab, Utah funeral. In February, Finicum’s widow Jeanette Fincum told the Salt Lake Tribune that Keebler was one of two “main security specialists and advisors” under Cope Reynolds, the head of the Finicum family security team.

Last December, Bundy supporter, Schuyler Barbeau was charged with illegal possession of an AR-15 semi-automatic 5.56mm caliber assault rifle with a 10.5-inch barrel and a sight. The weapon had been illegally altered and Barbeau had allegedly tried to sell it in order to buy a rifle capable of firing 7.62 mm rounds, the type of ammunition used in Soviet-style AK47 rifles.

According to the court documents in Barbeau’s case,

“Barbeau believed this type of rifle would be more effective in shoot-outs with law enforcement.”

More importantly, although none have yet to be found, the search warrant issued on Barbeau includes eleven mentions of explosives. Barbeau had told an informant that he stole blasting caps and detonation cord from his Army National Guard unit.

Several of the defendants in the Oregon Standoff attended hearings and protests for Barbeau; including Jon Ritzheimer, Jason Patrick, and Ryan Payne.

Barbeau was a member of the Bundy family’s personal security team; just as Keebler was for the Finicums.

The Oregon prosecution is presently seeking to establish with the Court that the Bundys, and some of their co-defendants and supporters, have demonstrated a clear pattern of ‘bad acts’ since the 2014 Bunkerville Nevada incident. Some of these behaviors and hobbies appear to be frequently aligned with the acquisition and/or the use of explosives.

Meanwhile, back at Malheur during the takeover, A. Bundy, the admitted head of the ragtag militant group, told the FBI they had found explosives in the fire house at the refuge, promising they would “never ever” use them adding,

“It would take somebody that would know what they are doing to use them“.

That meeting was livestreamed (00:10:20 mark) on the Pete Santilli Show, hosted by Peter Santilli, another co-defendant in both the Oregon and Nevada standoff cases.

Obviously, the Bundys are surrounded by people with the knowledge, ability, and it would seem, the inclination, to use explosives.

Bundy supporter Barbera Berg, a woman who had snuck in and out of the refuge in the last days of the final four holdouts, posted a photograph of what she claimed to be explosives on March 12. She said she discovered them in the firehouse at Malheur.

Assumptions by some were that the explosives being talked about in court documents and news reports were the boxes of Flash 21. Below are images taken inside the firehouse by a source who wished to remain anonymous.


IMAGE SOURCE: Anonymous source

Notice in the last picture the open boxes of Flash 21 alongside tools and other materials? In other firehouse photos taken and shared prior to these, the yellow cabinet doors were closed and no Flash 21 was to be seen.

Flash 21A/21B are typically packaged in one-litre plastic bottles. There are 6 bottles of each component in a case. The forest service uses Flash 21 for controlled burns. Flash 21 is not an explosive and is instead mixed with gasoline creating a gel that makes an intensely hot fire when ignited.

Here is a good explainer as to what Flash 21 is and why it would be on-site at Malheur.

On February 11, the FBI put out a press release that included,

“We are concerned about those who have criminal, violent intent.”

A confidential informant in the case said Emry, who wasn’t arrested until May 6, bragged about having a large arsenal and claimed also to have access to grenades. But, Emry had somehow failed to get the stolen “Ma Deuce” machine gun onto the refuge during the standoff according to the informant.

In an AP article Feb. 12, Larry Karl, the assistant special agent in charge of the Portland FBI said,

“There was flammable liquid and hazardous materials stored at the site before the armed takeover, and the FBI had information that ‘certain materials’ might have been brought to the refuge by the protesters.”

Scott Willingham, another co-defendant who was a part of the takeover security force, told Oregonian‘s Les Zaitz that Emry was at the refuge because of his weapons expertise. Emry testified in a 2004 federal case in Tennessee that he had constructed a large bomb as well as manufactured 66 illegal machine guns. He became a cooperating witness in that case and was never charged.

According to a July 11 filing, Payne attorney Lisa Hay had asked the Court to suppress any and all evidence obtained from the search of Payne’s Dropbox account, including any and all evidence derived therefrom.

The warrant in question was executed on April 1, the same day another warrant was filed for accessing the social media accounts, cell phones, and email accounts of Payne and several of his co-defendants. The judge later ruled the social media evidence stands and would not be suppressed. Deborah Jordan, girlfriend of dually indicted co-defendant Pete Santilli, said that 2-years of “private” Facebook messages were being used aginst Santilli and others in the indictment.

The move to suppress Payne’s Dropbox files is now a moot point to use as evidence against Payne as he has since made a plea deal in Oregon and is negotiating one for Nevada. He will face up to 12-years in prison with the new arrangement.

Whether the information in Payne’s Dropbox is used against any of the other 25 co-defendants in Oregon, or the other 18 in Nevada, remains to be seen. What we do know is with the warrant, the FBI was able to obtain all of Payne’s Dropbox files between August 18, 2014, and the present.

What exactly Payne had stored in his Dropbox is anyone’s guess and the “fruits” of the investigators’ search could be a massive win for the prosecution. The government’s counter motion stated,

“The warrant also sought evidence that Mr. Payne was planning ‘additional actions against law enforcement and the federal government’ with individuals associated with the group Operation Mutual Defense (“OMD”).”

Payne also used a private listserv that he, or someone else with OMD, somehow forgot to mark private. Apparently, the contents had been available to the public the whole time. Oregon co-defendant Ritzheimer, along with militia kingpin Gary Hunt and others, were a part of the email service.

In a March 9, Oregonian article by long-time staff writer, Maxine Bernstein, it was first reported that Oregon co-defendant, Jason Blomgren, had told authorities upon his arrest about the explosives the occupiers had at the refuge. Bernstein writes,

“Blomgren told authorities that the occupation leaders never booby-trapped the wildlife sanctuary but talked about using ‘IEDS,’ or improvised explosive devices, when planning for a worst-case scenario and using at least two drones to spy on the FBI, the prosecutor said.”

A source close to the case, who wished to be unnamed, denies the explosives Blomgren speaks of were meant to be used as a “worst-case scenario” or even as a defense. The confidential source said the explosives were live-rigged by Payne and intended to be used for offensive maneuvers in Harney County. Other devices had been rigged to be used at the refuge itself.

All of the explosive devices were later unrigged before the occupation’s leadership left for John Day on January 26, according to the source.

On July 6, Bundy cheerleader Sarah Redd Buck, who has her own family history with the BLM, posted to Facebook claiming federal prosecutors are threatening those who are jailed with an additional charge that would land them 30 more years in prison on top of the charges they are already facing. This came on the heels of both Brian ‘Booda’ Cavalier and Blaine Cooper’s plea deals.

Adding to the growing mystery about explosives, extremism expert JJ MacNab, Tweeted a response to Buck’s post stating,

“Explosives carry a 30-year minimum sentence.”

In a July 20, broadcast of Think Out Loud, Oregon Public Broadcasting’s news content manager, Ryan Haas, commented on Payne’s plea deal echoing what has been in the mind of many who have followed the case closely when he said,

“Ryan Payne was one of the leaders of Oregon Standoff. His guilty plea likely means there was strong evidence against him.”

Whatever that strong evidence is, could also be used against others. Was there an explosive plan conceived by a renegade Payne?

Plea deals made in secret often stay a secret throughout the course of trials and the years that follow. The curious crowd of onlookers may never see the real devil in the plea deal details.

*DISCLAIMER: Upon publishing, Idaho Three Percenter, Brandon Curtiss, claims Emry did not convoy with them to Burns. However, Emry’s TVOI has reported that he did on Project Camelot.

Ryan Payne’s OREGON Plea Deal PDF 



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41 responses to “Oregon Standoff and Bundy Ranch Plea Deals Abound, but What About Those Malheur Explosives?

    • I think most all of what you wrote is bullshit. You are perpetrating the official government narrative. It is ludicrous that Emry would have even attempted to get such a heavy weapon to the refuge. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if your comment section is some sort of federal honeypot.


      • Well if it is, I suppose they are snatching up all your “intel” as you typed. LOL. Take a breath and get a grip of your mind. Intelligence is much more attractive than paranoia. Have a nice night. Catch the show!


  1. Committees of Safety have nothing to do with the “Sovereign Citizens”, as implied in your first paragraph.
    There would be no United States of America, as we know it, had it not been for the Committees of Safety, over two hundred years ago. Though many were formed over a decade before the events of April 19, 1775, within a few months of that date nearly every community had formed a Committee and abandoned the existing royal governments.
    Committees of Safety called for the First and Second Continental Congresses, and continued as local government through the Revolutionary War.
    “Sovereign Citizen” is an oxymoron. A citizen is subject to the entity that he is a citizen of. sovereign is the supreme ruler.


    • Emry specifically speaks on how the HC one was set up. He was assisted by sovereigns and their understanding of it. I stand by what I wrote, but thank you for chiming in with some background for the readers. I am surprised that is the only point you wished to comment on, Gary.

      Liked by 1 person

      • There is a video taken at the meeting where the HCCoS was established. There is nothing mentioned in that meeting that approached the Sovereign Citizen elements.
        There is more that I could address, however, much of it absent any evidence, so it would just be a pissing contest.
        As far as the email list, the archive was accessible to members, only. Another member, who is rather suspicious. did have access, as a backup, to the email administration page. It was rather ironic that when Ryan and I discussed it (doc 780-3), two days later the other person called me to tell me that the archive was open. Sort of a CYA to take the heat off of him. What a coincidence.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. No, it was not Ritzheimer. The Board has pledge secrecy, so I am not free to divulge the name.
    I read McNabb’s stuff, she thinks that what we asked of Maureen was excessive, but then vetting is probably not done will enough, as in that other person.
    She concludes many things without evidence. Not a very good reporter, more like a gossip columnist.
    As far as when I am going to come on the show, well, it will not be before I am invited.


  3. Ammon and co. took the same tack in Burns as in Bunkerville. Using false pretenses, false information, and intentionally veiled ulterior motives to encourage unknowing ‘bodies’ to stand with them as cannon fodder. LaVoy wasn’t the brightest bulb (none of the Bundy’s are either), and even stone cold dead he is being used by patriots to further their hobby. This explains why so many are getting light sentences, as they were merely useful tools of the Bundy handlers. Even Ritzheimer says (https://www.facebook.com/blaine.cooper23/videos/930096093753230/) he had no idea why he was in Burns, but was then “educated” on the Federal Government not constitutionally allowed to control any lands outside of the (blah blah not really). So called patriots need a new hobby, like maybe SCHOOL?

    Liked by 1 person

    • There was no misrepresentation at the Bundy Ranch. Everybody knew why they were going there.
      At Burns, people went up to protest the imprisonment of Dwight and Steven Hammond. They knew why they were going there. There was an alternate plan, and once it was out in the open, those that chose to go to the Refuge knew what was happening and why they were going there.
      Patriots always talk about “OPSEC”, yet when it was implemented with regard to the Refuge (not letting but a small number who knew what and why), those same patriots that like the acronym turned and condemned Ammon and company for not telling them what it was about.
      So, nobody was deceived who went to Bunkerville. Nobody was deceived who went to Burns. Nobody was deceived when they went to the Refuge.
      Perhaps you, terrastomp, ought to pay attention and then you might know what really happened.


      • Gary, I challenge many were deceived WRT Malheur. I challenge many did not know what Payne was up to, including possibly Ammon himself. I know Payne is your guy and you simply are not going to speak out on it, that is understandable. But, I know you know, I am correct about his plan. I have zero expectation that you would say so though.

        Are we still going to Skype today? If so, let me know when is a good time for you. I am in Pacific time here in Oregon.


  4. If there were laws broken, then it should be taken care of. I have spent a lot of time investigating this and everything that has gone on.
    Question, is it true that occupiers were nothing but friendly ? Did they actually shovel snow when a snow storm hit the community ?
    Did they take hot drinks and warm food to agents ?
    I seen a few videos that were taken of occupiers meeting with the feds, it was friendly and peaceful.
    Why did the fire chief resign ? Is that suspicious ?
    Just so you know, it is a right to bare arms for any reason, but I think you and I both know why they were armed.
    Has the BLM not tried to intimidate ? That is not acting professional I don’t think, but why did this all happen ??
    It is my opinion that it’s silly for citizens to not have the right to own or possess exactly what our military has and possesses.
    That’s just me, but I’m fine with our laws, and if a person possesses a destructive device without proper papers , he is in violation , same for any weapon… That’s fine. But what we are able to possess is nothing compared to what our government has sold to groups abroad, let’s keep things in perspective here OK.
    So is it the law that the government own any property ? If so then you tell me how much OK.
    So again, what is this really all about ?
    I think looking into the root of the problem might shed more light.
    Is the governor acting lawfully ? The judge ? Is there a money trail ? I’m just asking because this whole thing doesn’t add up to me.
    From an outsider looking in, it seems someone wanted to make a statement, and they have. The message I have come away with is even when fired upon, you do not have the right to defend yourself with equal force, keep your hands up so you can be shot in the back. And if you go about preaching and teaching the constitution when you feel your rights have been violated, the laws written no longer pertain about the right to carry a weapon and if you do, you will be shot down or imprisoned.
    Is that not what happened ? Did they shoot at anyone ?
    I think it is very obvious that the media is bought and payed for by those that control our government and uranium one wins. There are legal documents out there. Is this about turtles and birds ? Lol
    I think everyone and every organization can do things not right. We all have done things not right. So let’s all just admit our wrongs and get them out in the open. Apologize and admit the wrong and let’s move in the right direction. Please ! It’s OK, people are very forgiving.

    Let’s just all try to be better people.
    Let’s take a good look at the Hammond’s case here and do what is right.

    To all the other questions here I have asked, I already have spent hours and months investigating. You don’t need to answer.
    I know your job, and your limitations.
    But answer me this one question.

    Do you really think what happened to the Hammond’s was just and fair ?

    Thank you very much for reading with an open mind and heart.

    Dan molden


  5. Have you seen the evidence list from the prosecutor for the Oregon case? Quite a lengthy read but gives a good picture of the total armament they brought as well as technology they used like a few license plate readers(188,189). My personal favorite 208 the 3 cut locks.

    Liked by 1 person

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  8. What I wonder about continually is how many of these guys are not FBI informers. The year I got out of high school, I had a job splitting fence posts. When you leave Naples, Idaho, going west, after you cross Deep Creek, you come to an intersection. If you go left, you go up Snow Creek where we were working. If you go right, you go up Ruby Creek, where the Ruby Ridge incident happened about fifteen years after we were working in the area. Randy Weaver’s wife had a baby, which was delivered by a midwife, not a doctor. The midwife who delivered the baby was from Noxon, Montana, and was the wife of the leader of the Montana Militia. Since the FBI was seeking information about that organization, they sent an informant to northern Idaho with the specific task of making friends with Randy Weaver, which he did. Then after a time, the informant produced a shotgun, which he said he wanted to saw off, but needed someone with more experience with guns to do it. So he talked Randy Weaver into sawing off the shotgun. That made Randy Weaver a felon who had violated a federal firearms law.
    Now this Malheur wildlife refuge occupation looks to me to be more of the same. How anyone could imagine that it would be of benefit to anyone other than the FBI, I just do not see. So now that FBI informants are starting to come out of the woodwork, who would you say was not an FBI informant? I am pretty sure Lavoy Finicum wasn’t.
    The first thing prosecutors said was that people convicted in this matter would be all incarcerated in separate federal facilities. So how would the general public even know that any particular defendant was even incarcerated other than the ones being made an example of, the Bundys?
    I think a bunch of these defendants are going directly into the federal witness protection program as soon as this trial is over Instead of going into prison. That is just my personal opinion of the matter. I think that this idea to occupy the wildlife refuge came from the FBI in the first place. The Bundy boys were sold a bill of goods the same way Randy Weaver was.


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