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DNA analysis leads to charges in 2016 Dakota Access Pipeline protest
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DNA analysis leads to charges in 2016 Dakota Access Pipeline protest

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Dakota Access Pipeline protest

The Standing Rock protesters' camps, near Cannon Ball, N.D., light up the sky on September 5, 2016.

BISMARCK, N.D. — Authorities say DNA collected from a cigarette butt in 2016 at a Dakota Access Pipeline protest site is from a South Dakota man who took part in a riot that caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.

Lawrence Malcolm Jr., 23, of Sisseton, South Dakota, is charged in Morton County with felony conspiracy to commit criminal mischief and a misdemeanor count of engaging in a riot, court documents show. An arrest warrant for Malcolm was issued Thursday. No attorney was listed for him in court documents.

The charges relate to a Sept. 6, 2016, incident in which North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation agents were called to assist the Morton County Sheriff’s Department at a site on County Road 135. More than 100 protesters, many with their faces covered, had shut down construction and vandalized equipment, a BCI affidavit says. Two protesters locked themselves to heavy equipment. Damage to equipment that day was estimated to be “into the hundreds of thousands of dollars,” the affidavit says.

BCI agents gathered evidence after the incident. Included in that evidence were two cigarette butts that were sent to the State Crime Lab for analysis. In August, the BCI was notified that the DNA profile from one of the butts was a match for Malcolm, whose DNA sample was on file from a previous arrest.

Agents reviewed video and photographs from 2016, the affidavit says. Malcolm is not seen in the videos, which authorities allege indicates he was one of those whose face was covered during the incident.

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Related to this story

A South Dakota man investigators say is linked through DNA evidence on a cigarette butt to a 2016 riot at a Dakota Access Pipeline construction site turned himself in and made his initial court appearance Tuesday in Morton County. He'll remain free as his court case proceeds.

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