BURNS, Ore. – An Oregon sheriff says the father-and-son ranchers convicted of setting fire to federal grazing land have reported to prison.
Harney County Sheriff David Ward said Monday that Dwight Hammond and his son, Steven Hammond, turned themselves in at 1:37 p.m. and were at a federal correctional facility in California. He provided no other details.
The Hammonds were convicted three years ago of starting fires that burned federal land in 2001 and 2006. The men served their original sentences – three months for Dwight and one year for Steven. But an appeals court judge ruled the terms fell short of minimum sentences that require them to serve about four more years.
An armed group is occupying a remote Oregon wildlife preserve, saying the Hammonds were treated unfairly. Ward urged the group to disperse peacefully.
A spokesman for the armed group says it wants authorities to look into claims that local ranchers have been intimidated by the federal government. Ammon Bundy – one of the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in a 2014 standoff with the government over grazing rights – told reporters on Monday that the Hammonds have been treated unfairly.
Bundy spoke at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge south of Burns, Oregon. He says the group calls itself Citizens for Constitutional Freedom and has sent a “demand for redress” to local, state and federal officials. They want a response within five days. Bundy didn’t say what the group would do if they didn’t get a response.
Reporters have seen roughly 20 people at the remote national facility.