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Informant tipped off OSP On Day Of Arrests Of Several Malheur Occupation Leaders

(Oregon Public Broadcasting) — An informant tipped off Oregon State Police that Malheur occupation leaders were traveling to John Day, Oregon, on Jan. 26, according to information revealed Wednesday in court.

Authorities used that information to take Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, Shawna Cox and several others into custody after stopping them en route to a community meeting in nearby Grant County on Jan. 26, 2016. Trooper Jeremiah Beckert testified Wednesday at the trial of seven members of the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge that a government informant embedded with the occupiers at the refuge — identified as Bundy's driver, Mark McConnell — tipped off authorities about the planned trip. On the stand Wednesday, Beckert identified McConnell as the informant.

Members of the occupation and associated patriot groups have previously accused McConnell of being a government informant. McConnell, who has previously been identified as a leader in the III% patriot group in Arizona, was in the car with Ammon Bundy and others at the time of the arrests, but unlike Bundy and the others taken into custody Jan. 26, McConnell was set free. Shortly after the arrests he began putting out videos on social media encouraging people not to believe reports about what had happened, specifically reports that FBI agents shot LaVoy Finicum as he was trying to surrender. 


During the roadblock, Finicum, the occupation's spokesperson, was fatally shot by Oregon State Police officers. 

Conrad Wilson will be in court once more to cover the day's events. Follow him on Twitter for the latest from the courtroom.


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