Judge: Early end for refuge occupation leader’s supervision


Ryan Payne now works for a start-up company in Montana

Ranching Standoff_259126

The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore., is seen from atop an old fire lookout on Friday, Jan. 15, 2016. A small, armed group has been occupying the refuge since Jan. 2 to protest federal land use policies. (AP Photo/Keith Ridler)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge has ended Oregon refuge occupation leader Ryan Payne’s federal supervision a year and a half early.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Payne was described as a pivotal ‘’architect’’ of the armed takeover of the 2016 Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. He served his prison term and completed half of three years of ordered supervised release after pleading guilty to conspiring to impede federal employees at the wildlife refuge through intimidation, threat or force.

Payne’s lawyer says he is now head of operations at REM Technologies, a start-up company in Belgrade, Montana, and that further supervision is unnecessary.

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