The Sanders County Sheriff is telling supporters of the Plains man wanted for his role in the Oregon wildlife refuge standoff to stay away, saying they will “complicate” efforts for a peaceful resolution.
Jake Ryan, 25, is accused of disturbing a sacred burial site by digging latrines for protestors at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge during a month-long standoff with federal agents earlier this year. Ryan is the 26th person charged publicly following the armed standoff and is one of two defendants in the case that have not been arrested.
A federal warrant was issued for Ryan last week but his family has said on social media that the Plains man will not turn himself in and that “the arrests stop here.”
Since then, some have worried about protestors coming to Sanders County. In a message on Facebook, Sheriff Tom Rummel urged Ryan’s supporters to stay put. Rummel said he is working with the Ryan family and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to find a peaceful resolution.
“I cannot stress enough that this matter is being handled at the local level,” Rummel wrote. “Outside citizen involvement will only complicate the issue for law enforcement and the Ryan family.”
Rummel noted that no FBI agents are working in Sanders County and that there was a misconception on social media that his department was working closely with federal agents.
Supporters of Ryan have called the warrant for his arrest “illegal” and have urged the sheriff to protect the local man. Gavin Seim, a self-described “liberty activist” with more than 30,000 followers on Facebook, said supporters would stay away from Sanders County if the sheriff “does his job.”
“Sheriff Rummel wants patriots out,” Seim wrote online. “But if he does his job the civilianry (sic) does not have to do it for him. There can be no ‘negotiations’ over illegal arrests and false charges.”
Seim has been posting messages online from Ryan’s family, who previously said they do not know where the 25-year-old man is at this time but that they will protect him.
“Please be patient and keep us in your prayers as we try to solve this dilemma, remembering that no man has the right to tread upon another,” the family wrote.
According to court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon, Ryan faces charges of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States, possession of firearms and dangerous weapons in a federal facility and depredation of government property.
An unsealed indictment specifically alleges that on or about Jan. 27, Ryan and Sean Anderson used heavy equipment to damage an archaeological site considered sacred to the Burns Paiute Tribe, resulting in more than $1,000 worth of damage. Media reports suggest that Ryan and Anderson had been digging latrines near a makeshift camping area.