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Ritzheimer Pleads Guilty To Role In Oregon Occupation

An Arizona man who helped illegally occupy a national wildlife refuge in Oregon earlier this year has pleaded guilty. Jon Ritzheimer admitted in federal court Monday to helping the leaders of the takeover.

Ritzheimer said he conspired with Ammon Bundy and others to prevent Interior Department employees from doing their jobs at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Ritzheimer was one of the more well-known faces of the occupation, which lasted more than five weeks. The ex-Marine posted several videos to social media, including one where he got angry at people for sending him adult toys after he had put out a call for the public to send snacks to the occupiers.

Ritzheimer is also known in Arizona for organizing an anti-Islam rally last year.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Gabriel said prosecutors will recommend two-and-a-half years in prison for Ritzheimer when he’s sentenced in May.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

When senior field correspondent Stina Sieg was 22, she moved to the desert. She hasn’t been the same since. At the time, the Northern California native had just graduated from college and was hankering for wide-open spaces. So she took a leap and wrote to nearly every newspaper in New Mexico until one offered her a job. That’s how she became the photographer for a daily paper in the small town of Silver City. And that’s when she realized how much she loved storytelling. In the years since, the beauty of having people open up and share their stories — and trust her to tell them — has never gotten old to Sieg. Before coming to KJZZ, Sieg was also a writer and photographer at newspapers in Glenwood Springs, Colorado; Moab, Utah; and the Smoky Mountains town of Waynesville, North Carolina. She always had her hand in public radio, too, including hosting Morning Edition on a fill-in basis at WNCW in North Carolina. It’s still the best music station she’s found. When she’s not reporting, chances are Sieg is running, baking, knitting or driving to some far-flung town deep in the desert — just to see what it looks like.