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FBI cuts power to Freemen ranch

portable generator

June 3, 1996
Web posted at: 10:10 p.m. EDT

BRUSETT, Montana (CNN) -- The FBI cut the power Monday afternoon to the Freemen's ranch near Jordan, Montana. According to an FBI statement, the action increases pressure on the group to resume negotiations for a peaceful settlement of the 71-day standoff.

About four hours after the Freemen's electricity was shut off, an FBI helicopter made a single pass about 200 feet over the besieged compound. Freemen stationed at a sentry post raced toward the ranchhouse when the aircraft passed overhead.

The anti-government Freemen have been holed up on their ranch since March 25 when two of their leaders were arrested by the FBI.

helicopter

The Freemen are believed to have generators and diesel fuel to provide power in the event their electricity was interrupted. The FBI has rented generators for the use of law officers and neighbors of the Freemen.

The FBI's statement, released just after 2 p.m. Monday, also said the agency has moved three emergency rescue vehicles from Jordan to a location near the ranch if emergency rescues become necessary. A rescue helicopter is also available.

But the agency insists that it wants a peaceful resolution to the stand-off.

Members of the Freemen are wanted on a variety of state and federal charges including charges that they wrote $19.5 million in bogus checks and warrants and that they threatened a number of officials, including a federal judge.

Correspondent Brian Jenkins contributed to this report.

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