Dan Love, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) law enforcement officer who directed federal operations on Cliven Bundy’s southern Nevada cattle ranch in April of 2014, has been booted from the agency. The BLM, at this time, is not providing specific details about the matter. Although the firing comes as no surprise to those who have followed reports of Love’s overreaching, corrupt, and often criminal conduct during his years at the BLM, the timing couldn’t be worse for federal prosecutors preparing for the third trial of Bundy Ranch defendants, next month.
Love’s history as a Special Agent with the BLM goes back several years, as do reports of his apparent willingness to push ethical boundaries. In 2009 and 2010, several men targeted by Love during Operation Cerberus Action (2007-2009), a federal ‘Native American antiquities’ sting, committed suicide. Love was the Special Agent in charge of Operation Cerberus. The family of Dr. James Redd, a beloved local physician in Blanding, Utah, who took his own life after Love directed a raid on his home and a brutal, day-long interrogation of him, believes the BLM agent was directly responsible for his death. Redd’s widow sued the federal government, naming Love specifically, for the ‘wrongful death’ of her husband. Although the case was dismissed in district court and subsequently in the appellate court in Denver, many shocking details about Love’s behavior during and after the raids were revealed in court documents. Nevertheless, following the terrible aftermath of Operation Cerberus, the BLM named Love “Special Agent of the Year, 2009.”
Despite numerous complaints from Utah law enforcement officials about Love, not only did he remain employed with the BLM, by 2014 he had been promoted to BLM head of law enforcement for Utah and Nevada.
Echoing the disproportionate show of militaristic force used in Operation Cerberus, Love directed the federal raid on Cliven Bundy’s Nevada ranch in April of 2014, during which a small army of agents, dressed in body armor and carrying automatic weapons, swarmed the property in SWAT vans and dozens of armored vehicles. The failed attempt to remove Bundy’s cattle from his BLM grazing allotments was a black eye to the federal government, but Love continued to serve in his position.
Love supervised BLM law enforcement at the 2015 Burning Man event, and according to the Deseret News; “(was) accused of using his position to secure preferential treatment for his family during the 2015 Burning Man event in Nevada, including using federal law enforcement officers as personal escorts for their safety, using his BLM vehicle to transport his girlfriend and allowing her to share overnight BLM lodging with him.”
It was recently reported that during the years Love served as head of BLM law enforcement for Utah and Nevada, he was stealing federal artifacts and distributing them to co-workers and other associates. Apparently the geological oddities, known as ‘moqui marbles,’ were quite valuable and were removed from evidence by subordinate BLM employees at Love’s command. In the BLM Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) report about the ongoing investigation into Love, it was also revealed that he had bullied and intimidated subordinates, and ordered the destruction of federal records. As we reported, “In violation of Federal Information Security Policy and DOI Rules of Behavior, Love, on several occasions, ordered subordinates to delete emails which were part of an official document request related to an employment matter.” Those emails were part of a records request from Congressman Jason Chaffetz, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The full OIG’s report about Love’s misconduct can be viewed here.