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Oil worker guilty of telling tale

A San Juan County oil field worker pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to making up a story about being attacked by suspected terrorists.

Gregory Lee, 26, appearing before U.S. District Chief Judge Dee Benson, said he had told the San Juan County Sheriff's Office Feb. 19 that he had been assaulted by men of Middle Eastern descent shortly after reporting to work at an Exxon oil field plant near Aneth.

Lee, who is scheduled to be sentenced June 3, faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for making false statements to federal agents .

He said he told FBI agents that shortly after he arrived at work, a steel object was pressed against his neck and he was asked by a man with a thick accent if the facility was a nuclear installation.

Lee had claimed he was hit in the head and kicked after falling to the floor by what he described as two men, including one armed with an AK-47 rifle. The pair, he said, escaped in a black sports utility vehicle.

Lee reportedly admitted fabricating the entire story after being taken to a hospital in Cortez, Colo., after the interview. There he also acknowledged having "frequent nightmares about a terrorist attack," according to court documents.