5 People, All From Out of State, Arrested
On Friday, July 23, 2021, the Wadena County Sheriff’s Office, along with several other law enforcement agencies, responded to an incident on the Enbridge Line 3 project in Wadena County. At approximately 4:00 AM, deputies on scene were alerted by construction workers of several individuals attempting to breach the fencing around the construction site. By the time the deputies got to the individuals, several had already climbed over the fence and made their way into the construction area. Four of the individuals were able to lock themselves to equipment on site, while a fifth was apprehended and arrested by deputies on scene. Several others fled the scene from deputies into the nearby wooded area. A specially trained extrication team was called to the scene and removed all individuals from the equipment. The five individuals taken into custody were identified as:
· Randy Navarrete, 31, of Magna, UT
· Caleb Django Schwartz, 23, of Tarrytown, NY
· Joel David Atkinson, 31, of Albany, OH
· Claire Elena Pryor, 21, of Ashland, OR
· Sarah Isabel Contreras, 24, of Berkeley, CA
All individuals were charged by the Wadena County Attorney’s Office on Monday. The four who secured themselves to equipment were charged with Felony Theft, Gross Misdemeanor Trespass, Misdemeanor Unlawful Assembly, and Misdemeanor Obstructing Legal Process. Schwartz was charged with Gross Misdemeanor Trespass and Misdemeanor Unlawful Assembly. All individuals were seen in Wadena District Court Monday morning where conditions and bail/bond were set. Those charged with felonies received conditions and were ordered to post $1,000 bail/bond by the court prior to release. Schwartz received conditions and was ordered to pay $500 bail/bond by the court prior to release. All had their bail/bond amounts posted and were released from custody.
Wadena County Sheriff Michael D. Carr credits his staff, along with the numerous other law enforcement agencies, for resolving the incident without further criminal activity or injuries to the arrestees or law enforcement.
The Northern Lights Task Force is comprised of numerous law enforcement agencies throughout northern Minnesota. This task force is strongly supported by State agencies along with fire and EMS agencies within each county. The mission statement for the task force is: “To provide a safe environment that protects life, property, and free speech through a respectful approach by well trained, disciplined peace officers relating to the lawful activities conducted by those who wish to exercise their First Amendment rights in Minnesota. “