By Laura Zuckerman
(Reuters) – A Nevada rancher who was at the center of an armed standoff with federal rangers in a fight over cattle said his son will submit himself for arrest on Monday on a warrant alleging he violated terms of his probation on theft charges.
A Las Vegas judge filed an arrest warrant last week for Cliven Lance Bundy, 34, the son of rancher Cliven Bundy, for failing to appear at a July 1 hearing and for not complying with terms of a 2012 plea agreement struck on felony theft counts, said court spokeswoman Mary Ann Price.
The younger Bundy was sentenced to five years probation last year after pleading guilty to theft of a firearm and burglary charges, Price said.
The spokeswoman said the specifics of his failure to comply with terms of the agreement were not detailed in legal documents, but that a condition of his probation had been that he complete a program that included drug testing and counseling.
The welder and heavy equipment operator was traveling to Las Vegas on Monday afternoon to turn himself in to authorities after learning of the warrant, his father told Reuters.
In April the Bundy family ranch was the site of an armed protest against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management as it sought to seize cattle over Cliven Bundy’s refusal to pay grazing fees.
The standoff near Bunkerville, about 80 miles (130 km) northeast of Las Vegas, lasted more than four hours before the agents backed down, citing safety concerns, and gave back hundreds of Bundy’s cattle which they had rounded up.
On Monday, Cliven Bundy said his son became addicted to painkillers several years ago after a doctor prescribed them following a pelvic injury.
He said his son had surgery last week relating to the injury, and that he had been recuperating at the ranch believing he had permission to suspend temporarily his participation in the drug program because of the medical procedure.
Bundy said he paid for the surgery in hopes of breaking his son’s dependence on painkillers. He said he was taken by surprise by reports a bench warrant had been issued for his son’s arrest, and that he had ordered him to hand himself in.
“I told him he’s got to go to Las Vegas and take care of it,” he said.
Authorities in Las Vegas could not immediately be reached for comment and it was unclear if Bundy’s son was in custody.
(Reporting by Laura Zuckerman in Salmon, Idaho; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Daniel Wallis and Eric Walsh)