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FBI Agent Killed in Crash Near 'Freemen' Ranch

April 15, 1996|From Times Wire Services

JORDAN, Mont. — An FBI agent was killed in a traffic crash Sunday near the ranch where anti-government "freemen" are holed up.

The agent was identified as Kevin Kramer, 34, of Sioux City, Iowa.

The death was not directly related to the standoff between federal agents and the freemen, which began March 25.

Witnesses said Kramer died after his four-wheel-drive vehicle slid off a muddy road and overturned.

In another development, a rancher ignored a threat from the freemen and moved his cattle onto state-owned land claimed by the anti-government group.

The freemen had published newspaper notices in March claiming ownership of thousands of acres of state and federal land in the area.

They also sent notices to several ranchers who lease government-owned land in the area for grazing, warning that if they used the land this spring they would be tried in the group's court and punished.

Rancher Tom Stanton moved about 70 head of cattle onto one of the tracts claimed by the freemen, about two miles from the standoff.

"I'm doing it because I have to earn a living," he said. He said his family has leased the land since 1914.

About a dozen freemen at the ranch outside Jordan have been charged with bank fraud and conspiracy for allegedly issuing bogus checks and money orders that cost businesses and public agencies $1.8 million.

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