“I respectfully call upon the honorable members of this Subcommittee, in coordination with the full Senate and House, to wield the necessary authority to force the BLM to lay off virtually all BLM Special Agents and instead enter into and/or strengthen existing contracts with County Sheriffs…”

Notes by Editor

On Wednesday, May 9, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) sponsored a hearing before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to review existing federal law enforcement programs with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service. Below are excerpts from the testimony of Utah State Representative, Mike Noel, highlighting extreme abuses by federal law enforcement agents. In totality they make a compelling case for disarming such extra-constitutional bodies and confirming that jurisdiction in matters of crime and land disputes is given to local sheriffs.

Central to his testimony is the Obama-era “antiquities sting,” Operation Cerberus Action, which lead to the deaths of several men, and the destruction of many lives and reputations in the Four Corners region. Noel concludes that the extra-constitutional nature of federal law enforcement, and the current unaccountablity, far-reaching jurisdiction, and widespread lawlessness and overreach, can be remedied only by a mass layoff of existing BLM law enforcement personnel.

Formatting and emphasis have been added by editor. See Noel’s full testimony by clicking here.


MAY 9, 2018 

TESTIMONY OF MIKE NOEL MEMBER

UTAH HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

As a sixteen-year member of Utah’s House of Representatives representing a large rural legislative district in southern Utah (Utah’s geographically largest legislative district), as a longtime rancher, and as a former BLM employee of twenty-two years, I regret having to describe today a terrible tragedy that befell a family and small-town community due to the heavy-handed tactics of an unaccountable cadre of BLM law enforcement personnel. The tragedy I will relate would have never happened had the BLM followed a simple requirement of the Federal Land Policy Management Act (FLPMA), which is: Instead of needlessly building up and deploying its own police force…

…In rural America, County Sheriffs serve as the anchors of law and order and Americans’ liberty in that law and order.

BLM law enforcement officers by contrast bring none of these protections to the table. Creatures of remote, disinterested bureaucracies, they answer to no one but those remote authorities centralized in Washington, D.C...

Their Utah chain of command runs up a silo straight to a central D.C. command structure. They have become in every sense of the word, an untrusted centralized paramilitary force…And as will be related below, their judgment and professionalism are too often compromised by anti-local prejudices and misunderstandings that too many of them carry simmering beneath the surface, which erupt under emergent law enforcement situations to the harm of local citizens.

…When it comes to entrusting individuals with the ability to wield police power to enforce public land and resource laws, most regard County Sheriffs as symbols of local, competent and legitimate accountability, while most regard BLM law enforcement officers as symbols of remote, incompetent and illegitimate unaccountability.

…As a former BLM official for twenty- two years, I remember there was once a time when the BLM took this requirement seriously and relied exclusively on local County Sheriffs and sheriff deputies to serve the BLM’s law enforcement needs. But the BLM has seriously strayed from this balance. The BLM has turned its back on the Sheriffs, not the other way around. Most everyone in my legislative district know this.

The result: a series of mishaps in Utah including the following tragedy in southeastern Utah’s San Juan County. These mishaps demonstrate the need for huge layoffs of BLM law enforcement officers and a major attitude adjustment that restores reliance on County Sheriffs to exclusively serve the BLM’s law enforcement needs…

Utah Artifacts Raid

In the early pre-dawn hours of June 10, 2009 BLM Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Daniel P. Love lead a raid for artifacts in the Blanding, Utah home of Dr. James Redd. Dr. Redd had already left the home to do personal errands and possibly morning rounds on his patients. Dr. Redd was a family practice physician for over 30 years in Blanding, Utah and served the Native American people and all others he could help. He was a father of 5 children and grandfather to 10 grandchildren.

The purpose of the BLM law enforcement raid was to look for evidence on which to hopefully make Dr. Redd and his wife Jeanne Redd look as if they were part of a black market ring trafficking in artifacts, and then prosecute them for such. Dr. Redd’s daughter Jericca said Dan Love boasted to her that he had 80 agents at Dr. Redd’s house at one time, and throughout the day he said there were a total of 140 agents that visited the house. Jericca heard Dan Love on the phone throughout the morning of June 10th tell other agents to “come on down to the Redd’s house.” Dan Love told reportedly told Jerrica he personally handpicked the agents that went to Dr. Redd’s house.

Dr. Redd’s wife Jeanne said when agents first filed in the front door during the predawn hours, they handcuffed her and asked over and over again, “Where’s the white bird? Where’s the white bird?” Jeanne did not have a “white bird” and believed they had the wrong house. She did not know they wanted a tiny bead. As multiple agents with their firearms mulled around 5’3″ 110 lb. Jeanne Redd in handcuffs one agent kept repeating to her, “Do you know how much trouble you are in? Your life is over as you know it.  This is the worst day of your life.  This is like a death in your family.” Another agent said to her three times, “Are you suicidal?”

According to Jeanne they took from the home 80-year-old Pima baskets, a very nice collection of artifacts from Central America, and they destroyed a 10-year-old handmade bow and arrow because they said it had bugs on it, telling Dr. Redd’s wife Jeanne they did her a favor. The bow and arrow was a decoration piece hanging in Dr. Redd’s living room. None of these items had anything to do with the raid.

Dr. Redd arrived back at the house around 6:45 am the morning of June 10th. As he pulled up to his house, swarms of federal agents were in and around his home. One of the FBI agents drew his gun, pointed it at Dr. Redd, ripped him out of his vehicle, handcuffed him and sat him down in the garage with the doors shut to begin their interrogation. They searched Dr. Redd’s house for 11 1/2 hours. Dr. Redd was personally interrogated in handcuffs for about 3 1/2 hours that day. Federal agents called Dr. Redd a liar over and over, asked him what shovel he liked to dig bodies with, and that he would never practice medicine again. Dr. Redd of course never dug any bodies. After a while Dr. Redd had to go to the bathroom, so at least two agents took him to the bathroom.  One agent stood 6 inches from Dr. Redd’s right knee and another agent stood 6 inches from his left knee as he used the bathroom. When he was done they did not remove his handcuffs for him to clean himself.  They put Dr. Redd in a vehicle and transported him off to the BLM office in Monticello. There they shackled him to other arrested Blanding residents and drove them to Moab to stand before the federal judge to hear their charges and enter a plea.

The BLM law enforcement’s decision to raid Dr. Redd’s home on June 10th was based on information received from a hired and paid informant by the name of Ted Gardiner, himself a known artifact dealer, drug addict and alcoholic who is deceased. In December 2015 an agent who took part in the 2009 raid confessed in a phone call to the Redds’ son Jay Redd, that his parents were not part of a “black market ring” in artifact trafficking and that the whole operation did not tap into any “black market” ring at all. Indeed, despite a two-and-a-half-year undercover investigation and the raid, the Federal Government was only able to charge Dr. Redd with one felony count of knowingly and fraudulently with intent to deceive receiving and possessing a tiny bead less than half the size of a dime, which he allegedly “knew to be stolen or embezzled from an Indian tribal organization.” Dr. Redd had picked the bead up off the ground and brought it home. He did not try to sell it or trade it or any other artifact ever…

* According to Dan Love, he sent 7 snipers onto the roof of Dr. Redd’s house the day of the raid. He said they were waiting for Dr. Redd’s son Javalan to drive down to the house. Dan Love said they had a description of Jav’s car and knew what he looked like. According to Dan Love, the reason they did this was because Jay called the house when the feds were there and said “don’t touch my animals, I’m coming down to get them. Be ready.” Dan Love said they (Federal agents) took this as a threat to their lives and therefore were waiting for him…

Approximately 24 hours after BLM agent Dan Love and 80 to 140 Federal agents including snipers swarmed the home of this beloved community physician and family man, traumatized his wife repeatedly, and interrogated and humiliated him for three and a half hours over a bead less than half the size of a dime he once picked off the ground, Dr. James Redd the next morning drove to be alone near a pond on his property, rigged a hose from his vehicle tailpipe to the car window, and tragically took his life by asphyxiation in his Jeep… 

As far as many in the community of Blanding and throughout San Juan County are concerned, Federal agents lead by BLM SAC Dan Love are responsible for Dr. Redd’s death for the way they treated, humiliated and threatened him and his family, over a $75 artifact he picked up off the ground and never even thought to traffic in…

Dr. Redd, the First Kill in Love’s ‘Kill Book’

This is not inconsistent with what BLM special agent Larry C. Wooten out of Boise, Idaho would later declare in a November 27, 2017 official whistleblower letter regarding BLM law enforcement misconduct, wherein Wooten declared that he was told by BLM Law Enforcement Supervisors that Special Agent Dan Love kept a “Kill Book” as a trophy, in which he essentially bragged about getting three individuals in Utah, including Dr. Redd, to commit suicide...

There are many items taken from the Redd home during the raid that have nothing to do with the reason for the raid, which have never been returned…

According to an April 2010 story run on a KSL News website, paid informant Ted Gardiner told a friend “ he felt guilty for killing two people,” and that a few days Gardiner died in a shootout with local police…

Meanwhile the BLM saw fit to give Dan Love the BLM “special agent of the year 2009” award.

Hiding Evidence, Intimidation, Lawlessness

According to Dr. Redd’s son Jay Redd who is a dentist in St. George, Utah, BLM SAC Dan Love and BLM agent Dan Barnes presented in the Summer of 2010 at a meeting of the Dixie Archaeology Society in St. George. There Love and Barnes said “stealing artifacts” was a way of life for the people involved and was a family affair in one case as they showed a picture of the Redd family outdoors (confiscated during the June 10, 2009 raid) and claimed the family were out “pot hunting.” Less than one hour after Jay Redd found this information on the internet (the information was on a blog) the blog was changed, the names of Dan Love and Dan Barnes were removed and the information about Dan Love showing the photos of the Redd family to the group was also removed.

Further according to Jay Redd, on October 21, 2010 BLM special agent Dan Barnes7 and a local St. George police officer paid an unannounced visit to Jay at his busy dental office (Jay was in the middle of a patient’s root canal). BLM agent Barnes abruptly demanded of the receptionist to get Jay, and then angrily told Jay in his office not to threaten Federal employees. Then they left. Twenty minutes later the attorney of Jay’s mother Jeanne (Dr. Redd’s widow) (not Jay’s attorney but his mother’s) received an email from BLM SAC Dan Love that referenced BLM agent Barnes’ visit to Jay’s dental office. Love’s email said Jay is getting “very close to the line” regarding statements about investigators assigned to investigate his family, and that Love will consider the matter closed unless Jay continues with such statements. This sophomoric attempt at coordinated intimidation was inexplicable to Jay…

BLM Whistleblower, Larry Wooten

…The whistleblower report soberly describes conduct so indecent, bigoted, vile and disgusting, not to mention completely unprofessional and unbecoming of a law enforcement agency, as to shock the public conscience and put the BLM’s law enforcement operations under a huge cloud of public mistrust. The whistleblower report describes among other things Special Agent Love’s disdain for Mormons, his vile actions toward his staff, his taking pictures of his feces and his girlfriend’s vagina and sending them to others on the internet, and his staff’s mashing of an arrestee’s face in the dirt until rocks stuck to his face, among other things…

Special Agent Wooten describes the following among other things, in his eighteen-page whistleblower report, which is public information:

“I routinely observed, and the investigation revealed a ‘”widespread pattern of bad judgment, lack of discipline, incredible bias, unprofessionalism and misconduct, as well as likely policy, ethical and legal violations among senior and supervisory staff at the BLM’s Office of Law Enforcement and Security. The investigation indicated that these issue issues amongst law enforcement supervisors in our agency made a mockery of our pclsition of special trust and confidence, portrayed unprofessional bias, [and] adversely affected our agency’s mission[.]

…The longer the investigation went on, the more extremely unprofessional, familiar, racy, vulgar and bias filled actions… 

..Additionally, this investigation also indicated that former BLM SAC Dan Love sent photographs of his own feces and his girl-fiiend’s vaglna to coworkers and suborclinates’

…Time after time, I was told former DLM SAC Love’s misconduct. I was told by BLM Law Enforcement Supervisors that he had a [“]Kill Book” as a trophy and in essence bragged about getting three individuals in Utah to commit suicide (see Operation Cerberus Action out of Blanding, Utah and the death Dr. Redd)[.]” 

…These are the sober descriptions of a fellow BLM Special Agent, a peer, a respected former lead investigator and holder of BLM law enforcement supervisory positions.

OIG Investigation: Burning Man

Here is the synopsis of the January 30, 2017 DOI OIG report entitled Investigative Report of Ethical Violations and Misconduct by Bureau of Land Management Officials:

Synopsis

•the Supervisory Agent used his official position to provide preferential treatment to his family members while attending the event; 

•the Supervisory Agent directed five on-duty BLM law enforcement officers to escort his family and provide security for them at the event; 

•the Supervisory Agent’s family received unauthorized access to the Incident Command Post (ICP); and 

•the Supervisory Agent’s family received overnight lodging in BLM-leased facilities…  

…We interviewed BLM OLES Director Salvatore Lauro who stated that he took no action when he saw the Supervisory Agent use ATVs and BLM personnel to transport his (the Supervisory Agent’s) family. In addition, Lauro knew the Supervisory Agent allowed his girlfriend to share his BLM overnight lodging accommodations during the event…

During our investigation, the Supervisory Agent displayed a lack of candor when interviewed and tried to influence an employee’s comments prior to an interview…

OIG Investigation: Moqui Marbles

…The senior manager [Love] also allegedly gave marbles as gifts to several people. In addition, the OLES official alleged that after the BLM received requests for emails concerning various matters under official inquiry, the senior manager directed his subordinate to review the senior manager’s BLM emails and delete any that depicted him unfavorably… 

During our investigation, we received an additional allegation that in February 2016, OLES documents related to a congressional request were intentionally deleted from a BLM shared Google drive the day before the request for the documents was received… 

The senior manager declined to be interviewed for this investigation…

Conclusion

The heavy-handed raid of the Redd residence and resulting passing Dr. Redd would not have happened had the BLM respected its proper place and obeyed FLPMA’s requirement to first rely to the maximum feasible extent on the local County Sheriff to carry out the BLM’s law enforcement needs…I respectfully call upon the honorable members of this Subcommittee, in coordination with the full Senate and House, to wield the necessary authority to force the BLM to lay off virtually all BLM Special Agents and instead enter into and/or strengthen existing contracts with County Sheriffs, to carry out BLM law enforcement needs…

BLM Special Agent in Charge, Daniel P. Love, at the site of the Bundy Ranch raid

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