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FBI investigating Cliven Bundy standoff and supporters, federal official says

By Evan Perez and Leigh Ann Caldwell, CNN
updated 9:13 AM EDT, Fri May 9, 2014
Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy has refused to vacate federally owned land and pay more than $1 million in fees.
Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy has refused to vacate federally owned land and pay more than $1 million in fees.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The FBI is investigating the armed standoff on federal lands
  • An estimated 300 people, many toting weapons, joined Bundy

(CNN) -- The FBI is investigating the armed standoff on federal land between the U.S. government and Southern Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his supporters, CNN has confirmed.

The government is looking into the possibility that federal laws were broken in the April 12 standoff, including threats against law enforcement officers and the use of illegal weapons. Federal authorities are also concerned about the possible involvement of anti-government groups.

While authorities are interested in not inflaming the situation, reports of people pointing weapons at law enforcement need to be investigated, a federal official told CNN.

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Las Vegas television station KLAS reported that pictures and videos from the standoff are being examined and law enforcement personnel involved are being questioned by the FBI to determine if Bundy supporters broke any laws.

An estimated 300 people, many toting weapons, joined Bundy when the federal government began to round up his cattle after he refused to vacate federally owned land and pay more than $1 million in fees. The faceoff that began last month is the culmination of a two-decade-long fight between Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management, which says Bundy illegally tends his cattle on taxpayer-owned land about 100 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

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Bundy became a conservative symbol of government overreach as some high-profile politicians, including Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, flocked to his defense. But after he repeatedly made racist remarks, his clout diminished among the political class.

The Bureau of Land Management halted the cattle roundup and is considering what to do next, including arresting Bundy for failing to follow the law, seizing his assets through the Treasury Department or sending the case to the Department of Justice.

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