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Utah brothers detained by feds for crossing ‘trespass cattle’ area

Two brothers from St. George, Utah, were detained and cited by federal authorities Thursday afternoon as they crossed into an area closed for the ongoing roundup of “trespass cattle” on public land in northeastern Clark County.

Tyler and Spencer Shillig said they were held for at least an hour after they intentionally crossed underneath a gate blocking the road to Overton Beach at the northern end of Lake Mead National Recreation Area northeast of Las Vegas.

Tyler Shillig, 28, said they decided to join the protests against the federal roundup of rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle after they heard about the Bureau of Land Management trying to restrict protesters to a pair of First Amendment areas.

“The federal government has way overstepped its bounds,” Tyler Shillig said. “For them to try to corral me in a 20-by-40 free-speech zone is inexcusable.”

The Shilligs were not arrested, but each of them received a citation for interfering with an agency function. Spencer Shillig, 22, also was cited for disorderly contact and violent behavior before both men were released.

The only arrest so far came Sunday, when Bundy’s son, Dave Bundy, was taken into custody by the BLM and released the next day after being cited for “refusing to disperse” and resisting arrest.

There were indications Thursday that Dave Bundy’s brother, Ammon Bundy, also could face federal charges stemming from a clash between protesters and BLM rangers that resulted in him being shot with a stun gun.

A criminal case against Ammon Bundy appeared on the electronic docket for the federal courts system and then disappeared after a reporter made an inquiry to the U.S. attorney’s office about it.

No information about the charges against the 39-year-old was provided on the docket, but a case number for “USA v. Bundy” was listed and the case was assigned to U.S. Magistrate Judge George Foley Jr. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nadia Janjua Ahmed was listed as the prosecutor.

When U.S. attorney’s office spokeswoman Natalie Collins was asked in an email why the case was no longer on the electronic docket, she replied, “We cannot comment on it.”

The spot where the Shilligs were detained is on National Park Service land outside the almost 600,000-acre temporary closure area federal officials established for the roundup.

On Wednesday, the Park Service announced an emergency closure of the roads to St. Thomas Point, Stewarts Point and Overton Beach so Bundy’s cattle could be rounded up there. A Park Service official said those areas are expected to reopen to the public Friday.

The Shilligs knew they were crossing into an area that was closed, but Tyler said: “If you look at any successful movement, it’s because people have fought, people have been jailed.”

Review-Journal writer Jeff German contributed to this report. Contact Henry Brean at hbrean@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0350. Find him on Twitter: @RefriedBrean.

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