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3 more arrests at refuge, several vehicles leave area

Jason Patrick speaks to KATU on Wednesday hours before he and two others turned themselves in to authorities. (KATU Photo)

Law enforcement authorities Wednesday arrested three more people who had been occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, according to the FBI.

FBI officials also said a total of eight people left refuge after checkpoints were set up and five of them were released.

The three who were arrested where identified by the FBI as Duane Leo Ehmer, 45, of Irrigon, Oregon, Dylan Wade Anderson, 34, of Provo, Utah and Jason S. Patrick, 43, of Bonaire, Georgia.

Ehmer and Anderson were arrested at about 3:30 p.m., and Patrick was arrested just after 7:30 p.m.

The FBI said the three turned themselves in without incident at a checkpoint outside the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. They're expected to appear before a judge at 8 a.m. Thursday in federal court.

They face one federal felony count of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats.

According to the FBI, several vehicles left the area before the checkpoints in and out of the refuge were set up early Wednesday morning.

KATU spoke to Patrick early Wednesday. At that time he spoke for the occupiers.

When asked what his role with the group was, Patrick said, "I'm an American."

He would not tell KATU how many people were still staying at the refuge.

When asked if he was armed, Patrick said, "I'm prepared to defend."

He said he'd been occupying the refuge from the beginning.

Wednesday's arrests come after the armed group's leader, Ammon Bundy, and several others were arrested Tuesday. On Wednesday, Bundy, through his attorney, asked the remaining occupiers to stand down and go home.

The armed protesters have been occupying the refuge since Jan. 2 to protest federal land-use policies and the imprisonment of two Oregon ranchers.

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