Nevada FBI agent Laura Bucheit said that the Bundy indictments send a "resounding message" to Americans who want to engage in "violent acts" that the federal agency will enforce existing laws in an "unwavering" fashion. Bundy demanded the driver show proof that the cattle did not come from his father's ranch, and then let him proceed.
"Bereft of human interaction, his cattle that manage to survive are wild, mean and ornery", prosecutors said.
"Today marks a tremendous step toward ending more than 20 years of law breaking", said Bureau of Land Management Director Neil Kornze in a statement, referring to Cliven Bundy's longstanding dispute with his agency.
In 2014, at the time of his alleged crimes, more than 1,000 head strayed as far as 50 miles from his ranch and into the Lake Mead National Recreational Area, "getting stuck in mud, wandering onto golf courses, straying onto the freeway (causing accidents on occasion)", authorities said in documents.
Cliven Bundy has long refused to pay fees to the government to allow his cattle to graze on federally controlled public lands by his ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada.
Together, the five men are facing 16 felony charges for the 2014 OR standoff, the event which emboldened the Bundy's to seize the wildlife refuge.
The charges carry potential sentences of decades in prison and $3 million in forfeitures.
Federal Bureau of Investigation agents
Cliven Bundy was denied bail on Tuesday after a judge in an OR federal court determined that he was a flight risk, said Natalie Collins, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Nevada.
Ammon Bundy's defense attorney, Mike Arnold, also said that he hadn't yet read the indictment, but added he wasn't surprised by it because the criminal compliant against Cliven Bundy filed last week listed four unnamed co-conspirators.
No arraignment date has yet been set for Cliven Bundy, his sons, and the other two BLM protesters who were just recently indicted on federal charges.
Both Ammon and Ryan were also charged for participating in the Nevada standoff, along with Ryan Payne and Peter Santilli, according to the statement.
Hundreds of thousands of acres of federal land called the Gold Butte surrounds the ranch. The charges include conspiracy to commit an offense against the USA, assaults and threats against law enforcement, using firearms to commit violence, and interference with interstate commerce by extortion.
"Bundy uses that entire range of land to graze his cattle unlawfully", prosecutor said in court papers.
Wednesday's indictment identifies Cliven Bundy as the "leader, organizer, and chief beneficiary of the conspiracy", and states that he "possessed ultimate authority" over the 2014 standoff.
John Locher/AP He faces charges linked to his Nevada protest where his son, future OR militia leader Ammon Bundy, was stunned with a police TASER.