PORTLAND, Ore. - A central figure in the armed occupation of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon has been sentenced to three years and a month in prison, the longest term for anyone convicted in the case.
At the federal courthouse in Portland, Ryan Payne of Anaconda, Montana, apologized Tuesday to those disrupted by his actions and to the American people.
Payne helped seize the bird sanctuary on Jan. 2, 2016, in a protest against federal control of Western lands and the imprisonment of two ranchers convicted of setting fires.
He pleaded guilty to conspiracy in July 2016, but his sentencing was delayed until the outcome of his trial on charges stemming from a standoff with federal agents at a Nevada ranch owned by Cliven Bundy.
The judge in the Nevada case dismissed charges against Payne last month, citing federal prosecutors' misconduct with evidence.