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Group Calls For Racketeering Investigation of Montanore Mine Shooting
January 7, 2014—Lincoln County, MT—A Montana-based citizens’ group is calling for a criminal racketeering investigation into the suspicious shooting of a prominent mine opponent and the subsequent cover up by the local sheriff.
In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Alternative One details the chilling account of the November 16, 2013, attack on John Cleveland, 60, whose ancestral land borders the proposed Montanore Mine.
Mr. Cleveland, whose decade-long battle against the mine’s owner, Mines Management, Inc. (AMEX: MGN), has put him in the crosshairs of CEO Glenn Dobbs and the local, notoriously thuggish, pro-mine activists. Mr. Cleveland sustained a near fatal gunshot wound in his leg.
The shooter, 48 year-old Michael Wagner, is an unemployed miner and far right political extremist. On his Facebook page, Wagner proclaimed a virulent hatred of environmentalists and displayed photos of himself brandishing an AR-15 assault rifle. Wagner regularly travels the remote stretch of road between Mr. Cleveland’s property and the Montanore compound.
During interviews and investor presentations, CEO Dobbs makes hostile references to “environmental extremists” who want to ensure that wilderness areas are protected from irresponsible mining practices. Mr. Cleveland owns more than 1,000 pristine acres in the Kootenai National Forest. He is fighting to prevent Montanore from destroying his land and contaminating his water.
MMI faces widespread public opposition to its proposed copper and silver mine that would destroy thousands of acres of pristine national forest, including sensitive grizzly bear habitat. Public pressure, financial, environmental and legal problems threaten the project.
The release of the details about the incident and the investigation was tightly controlled by the office of Lincoln County’s tainted Sheriff Roby Bowe, who is a defendant in a federal court case in which he is accused of tampering with evidence and obstruction of justice. There are other pending allegations against the sheriff for covering up financial mismanagement in his office.
In 2011 Bowe refused to investigate mine-related crimes against Alternative One leaders and their property. Bowe has resisted repeated calls to resign.
The sheriff and his staff immediately determined that the shooting was a hunting accident and went to great lengths to portray Wagner, the shooter, as a hero for applying a life-saving tourniquet to the victim’s leg and immediately seeking help. Wagner faces only minor misdemeanor charges for the attack.
Weeks later, a newspaper account of the shooting revealed that Mr. Cleveland had applied his own tourniquet. It also detailed a bizarre sequence of events that seem unlikely to those familiar with the terrain, Mr. Cleveland’s battle with Mines Management, and the Montanore-related history of intimidation and violence against local mine opponents.
According to Alternative One spokesman Max Wolff, “The criminal conspiracy between Mines Management, Lincoln County law enforcement, local business and political leaders constitutes the operation of a corrupt organization. Mine opponents have been systematically victimized by a Montanore led crime syndicate. The Justice Department should conduct an investigation under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. We believe that a RICO investigation of Montanore is appropriate and overdue, and may well lead to the filing of criminal charges against syndicate leaders.”
Alternative One is a volunteer organization working to prevent Mines Management from building and operating the Montanore Mine. Its activities include research, investor and public education campaigns, and encouraging public participation in the permitting process. More information is available at www.alternativeone.org.
News Release: Group Calls For Racketeering Investigation of Montanore Mine Shooting
Submitted on: January 08, 2014 02:38:41 AM
Submitted by: Max Wolff
On behalf of: www.alternativeone.org