Federal agents added a second helicopter to the three armored vehicles around the Freemen ranch, increasing their presence after shutting off electricity to the anti-government fugitives.
With the standoff in its 11th week, the Freemen spent a second night in what appeared to be near darkness. The lights that usually dot the sprawling compound were off and only a dim glow could be seen in one of the nine buildings.Two FBI vehicles drove Tuesday to a gate where negotiations have been held in the past, a half-mile from the group's main building, and left what appeared to be a note. About five minutes later, a pickup truck from the compound went to the site and a man picked up the item.
It was the first visible communication between the two sides in more than a week.
The chopper added Tuesday could not be seen at the FBI staging area where three armored cars and a rescue helicopter took up positions last week. But an FBI agent confirmed the additional helicopter had been brought in.
The armored cars were moved within four miles of the Freemen ranch over the weekend, from another FBI staging area just outside Jordan, 30 miles southeast of the ranch. The first helicopter circled the compound for a few minutes Monday, the day electricity to the Freemen was cut off.
Portable generators are supplying power to 41 neighboring homes that are wired into the same circuit as the 960-acre ranch the Freemen call Justus Township, on the eastern Montana plains.
Some neighbors have said they are sure the Freemen, like most farms in the area, have their own generators.