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FBI aids police in standoff with pot advocate

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VANDALIA, Mich. — A standoff with the owner of a campground known for its advocacy of marijuana dragged into a fourth day, with police enlisting the help of a third-party negotiator and the FBI stepping in to relieve officers.

The campground's supporters gathered near the site Sunday as police worked to end a standoff that has involved shots being fired at a news helicopter and police plane.

"The word is out about what's going on," said Shirley DeWeese, whose brother, Grover T. Crosslin, owns the southwest Michigan campground called Rainbow Farm. "If they do kill him, it's not going to be the end."

Neighbors said Crosslin, 47, who faces drug and weapons charges, was burning buildings on Friday on his property, which is the target of civil forfeiture proceedings. Deputies went to the farm after hearing about the fires.

Police did not know who fired the shots that whizzed by an unmarked state police plane Saturday and struck the tail of an Indiana television station news helicopter Friday. Both landed safely.

The FBI said Sunday night that federal agents would relieve officers from the Michigan State Police and Cass County Sheriff's Office who have been at the site. Cass County Sheriff Joseph Underwood Jr. said Crosslin has made no demands.

"It is the goal of all three agencies to resolve this matter peacefully," said John Bell Jr., special agent in charge of the FBI's Detroit office.

Officers did not identify the third party assisting in the negotiations.

Sheriff's Lt. Lyndon Parrish believed Crosslin was upset over a $150,000 bond revocation hearing he skipped Friday. The hearing was set because authorities believed he was violating terms of his release on charges of felony firearm possession and drug charges.

Dori Leo, who identified herself to the South Bend Tribune as Crosslin's attorney, said her client was upset because a child he helped raise was placed in foster care following the charges.

Crosslin and five others were arrested in May after a two-year investigation into allegations of marijuana use at the campground, just before it was to host a weekend event promoting marijuana legalization.

A statement on Rainbow Farm's Web site says it "supports the medical, spiritual and responsible recreational uses of marijuana for a more sane and compassionate America."

About a mile away from the campground, about a half-dozen people displayed placards in support of Crosslin and Rainbow Farm.

"We were hoping for a peaceful resolution and they're bringing in choppers and artillery," said DeWeese.