ST. GEORGE – Law enforcement authorities confirmed Thursday morning the FBI arrested 36-year-old Blaine Cooper, one of the more vocal militants at the Oregon refuge last month.
Washington County Sheriff Cory Pulsipher said two of his deputies were contacted at approximately 6:30 a.m. Thursday by the FBI to assist with Cooper’s arrest at the Canyon Ranch Motel located near the Zion National Park entrance.
Pulsipher was not able to provide any additional details about the incident, referring all questions to the arresting agency.
St. George News contacted the Oregon FBI Office but was directed to the state’s U.S. Attorney’s Office. Several calls to that agency Thursday went unreturned.
The indictment, filed Wednesday, was sealed until Thursday as to some defendants and Friday as to others. Those include: Cooper, Corey Lequieu, Neil Wampler, Jason Charles Blomgren, also known as “Joker J,” Darryl William Thorn, Wesley Kjar, Eric Lee Flores, Geoffrey Stanek and Travis Cox.
Cooper, whose real name is Stanley Blaine Cooper Hicks, was booked into the Washington County jail as a federal detainee.
Cooper and the others named in the indictment are charged with conspiracy to impede officers of the United States. The allegations against the named defendants on the indictment allege they conspired and agreed together “to prevent by force, intimidation, and threats, officers and employees of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service … from discharging the duties of their office at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge ….”
Read the indictment here: USA v Cooper et al. Indictment filed 20160210 unsealed 20160212
The same charge has been leveled against Ammon and Ryan Bundy and several other of their counterparts who were involved in the 41-day occupation of the bird sanctuary.
Melissa Cooper, Cooper’s wife, used Facebook Thursday to announce the arrest of her husband and to solicit donations. She posted that officers had arrested Blaine Cooper in front of her and their two daughters.
Melissa Cooper admitted while a guest on a YouTube show Thursday she and her children had left the couple’s home in Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona, last month to be with her husband at the refuge. She said she plans to return to Arizona.
Blaine Cooper left the refuge within days of the Bundys’ arrest and the death of Robert LaVoy Finicum. Media on scene at the time reported the FBI had promised not to arrest Blaine Cooper and the others upon their exit from the refuge.
Blaine Cooper’s arrest came just hours after that of Cliven Bundy’s in Portland, Oregon. Bundy had flown there with plans to go to the Malheur National Refuge where four of the last remaining occupiers were negotiating with authorities Wednesday night for their safe surrender. Bundy was arrested on several charges stemming from the 2014 armed standoff at his Nevada ranch.
Blaine Cooper and several others who had occupied the refuge alongside Cliven Bundy’s sons, Ammon and Ryan Bundy, attended Finicum’s funeral last Friday in Kanab. He told the media then he had traveled to the funeral as part of an armed convoy. He also said he had not been home since he left the refuge Jan. 26.
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