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2 accused of trespassing at Nevada National Security Site plead guilty

Updated September 16, 2019 - 6:18 pm

Two men from the Netherlands accused of trespassing at the Nevada National Security Site last week each pleaded guilty Monday to the misdemeanor charge.

Govert Sweep, 21, and Ties Granzier, 20, each also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of illegal parking. They face 10 days in jail.

But according to a plea agreement, the two are free to go seven days early if each pays $2,280 in fines and fees by early Sept. 19.

For the next year, the two also must not come within 500 yards of the Nevada National Security Site and must stay away from any events near or related to it, the Nye County district attorney’s office announced Monday. It’s unclear if the two planned to attend any of the Area 51-related events this weekend in Lincoln County.

If the two do not comply, they face one year of jail time and an added gross misdemeanor charge of conspiracy to commit trespass, according to the agreement.

“It was important to us that these men serve jail time and pay a substantial financial penalty,” Nye County District Attorney Chris Arabia said in a statement. “We take this crime seriously and people need to understand that we won’t put up with this kind of nonsense.”

Last Tuesday, deputies with the Nye County Sheriff’s Office found Sweep and Granzier near a parked a car about 3 miles past the security site’s Mercury Highway entrance.

Inside the car, deputies also found a cellphone, a laptop computer, a drone and multiple cameras. All electronics were seized as part of the investigation, then forfeited as part of the plea agreement.

Granzier told deputies that he is a YouTuber. His YouTube channel has more than 735,000 subscribers.

Sweep and Granzier told police that they can read and understand English but ignored the “No Trespassing” sign at the entrance because they wanted to see the facility. Area 51 is off the northeast corner of the site.

In January, a Nye County deputy and a security guard shot and killed a 27-year-old Iowa man who was trespassing at the site.

The Sheriff’s Office said at the time that Nekiylo Dawayne Graves drove through the security site’s Mercury Highway entrance gate, then made it 8 miles into the site before a Nye County deputy caught up with the security guards pursuing Graves.

Graves then stopped his car, got out and approached authorities with a “cylindrical object in hand,” according to a release from the National Nuclear Security Administration.

It’s unclear if Graves was armed. The guard and deputy opened fire in response. According to the Sheriff’s Office, there was no body-worn camera footage of the shooting because of federal regulations.

Contact Rachel Crosby at rcrosby@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3801. Follow @rachelacrosby on Twitter.

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