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Richard Keyes III, 21, and Mike Matson, 48, fled the militant

May 5, 1997 GMT

Richard Keyes III, 21, and Mike Matson, 48, fled the militant group’s remote hideaway about four hours apart on Saturday before other members surrendered. Authorities let the two men go to avoid jeopardizing the negotiations with McLaren that led to the surrender.

Dogs and troopers on horseback initially were held back from the search because of possible booby traps left behind by McLaren’s group. Authorities found more than 60 pipe bombs and 12 gasoline cans in the area, as well as several fortified bunkers.

Cox said the dogs, redbone hounds used as trackers by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, were unleashed this morning near a campsite found in a canyon near the Republic of Texas ``embassy.″

Shots were fired at the dogs within minutes. The men were believed to be armed with a .30-30 deer rifle, an semiautomatic military-style rifle and a 9 mm handgun, Cox said.

Of the two, only Keyes is charged with a crime. He is accused of organized criminal activity and kidnapping related to a hostage-taking April 27 that sparked the seven-day standoff.

The Republic of Texas believes the state was illegally annexed by the United States in 1845. McLaren, jailed in Marfa, said he would continue seeking independence for Texas. Other factions of the group have disavowed him.

``We’re still moving forward. We’ve not stopped it,″ he told NBC News on Sunday. He said then he wanted to face federal courts ``because the courts in Texas are strictly military courts sitting under war powers.″

McLaren, 43, was in jail today without bail, sharing a cell with his wife, Evelyn. He and three other members are charged with organized criminal activity; the others were held in lieu of $500,000 bail.

An indictment unsealed today in Dallas accused both McLarens and five other people of issuing more than $1.8 billion in bogus Republic of Texas financial documents and using them to pay legitimate bills. They were charged with conspiracy, bank fraud, mail fraud and aiding and abetting. Names of the five others were not released because they are not in custody.

``This indictment sends a clear message to those who try to rip off our residents and then ride off in the sunset by wrapping themselves in militia double speak,″ U.S. Attorney Paul Coggins said in Dallas this morning.

The McLarens were expected to appear before a federal magistrate later today. If convicted of the federal charges, McLaren faces a maximum of 725 years in prison and fines totaling $24.25 million. Mrs. McLaren faces up to 155 years in prison and fines totaling $5.2 million.

Residents of the Davis Mountains Resort subdivision, the isolated development where McLaren set up his headquarters, tried to return to normal life.

Those previously stung by McLaren’s blizzard of legal paperwork, including bogus liens, expect to hear more from him.

``I think the standoff is over, but it’s all just starting,″ said Randall Kinzie.

``I expect appeals, appeals, appeals,″ added Malcolm Tweedy. ``It’s going to cost us millions. He’s a very dedicated paper shuffler.″

The standoff began April 27 when McLaren’s followers stormed the home of two neighbors and held the couple hostage to protest of the arrest of a comrade, Robert Scheidt. He was exchanged for the hostages, but the standoff continued. Scheidt later surrendered.