(Elko, NV) In a complaint filed by Blaine Northrup, Nevada State Brand Inspector, certain Battle Mountain BLM employees will be charged with violations of the Nevada brand law, including a Class C Felony.
The BLM employees in question were in the process of seizing livestock from Dalton Wilson’s ranch in an ongoing quiet title action and civil trespass case before Federal District Court Judge, Edward C. Reed. In an effort to obtain brand clearance certificates, a precursor for the lawful removal and transport of the horses in question, the BLM not only removed the horses from the property without authorization, but then misrepresented the facts to a state official to obtain his approval on the brand certificate.
In an August 26 letter to Ron Wenker, State Director of the Bureau of Land Management, Agriculture Department Director, Dr. Anthony Lesperance, notified the BLM that the Brand Department would not issue any further brand clearance certificates to the BLM, “until the above matter is explained to the Department’s satisfaction, and the Department receives the assurances that correct procedures will be followed henceforth by the BLM…. My policy is such that when facts are misrepresented in regard to brand inspection certificates, I automatically terminate any and all future brand inspection certificates with the party in question until such matter is fully resolved.”
Lesperance wrote, “My initial investigation of this matter indicates BLM employees not only committed fraud to a state official, they also appear to have clearly violated several other provisions of Nevada law and federal criminal statutes as well. This constitutes a serious breach of trust which I, as a state officer by virtue of my oath of office, cannot lawfully ignore. Mr. Blaine Northrop, of the Brands Division, is in the process of filing a criminal complaint against the BLM with the Lander County District Attorney in regard to these matters.”
The Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 and Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 specifically reserves civil and criminal jurisdiction and police powers to the states respectively. “As a state official, it is my job to enforce the brand laws equally under the Equal Protection Under the Law Clause of the Constitution, and that includes federal employees,” wrote Lesperance.
A Nevada Dept. Ag press release'.