Oil Field Worker Assault a Hoax

Oil Field Worker Assault a Hoax

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The FBI has arrested an oil field worker who they say falsely claimed he had been attacked by armed men who asked questions about the oilfield's operations.

Gregory Lee, 26, hometown unknown, was taken into custody Thursday evening for investigation of making false statements to federal agents, said George Dougherty, FBI spokesman in Salt Lake City.

The man's claim had raised fears of a possible terrorist threat and Navajo Nation police and FBI had started patrolling the remote area in southeastern Utah.

The man had told authorities four armed men, possibly of middle eastern descent and speaking a language he did not understand, attacked him at 11:30 p.m. Wednesday at the ExxonMobil oil and natural gas processing facility in Aneth, Utah.

The man had minor injuries, which are believed to have been self-inflicted, Dougherty said.

Aneth is on the Navajo reservation about 380 miles southeast of Salt Lake City at the sparsely inhabited Four Corners juncture of Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico.

Three schools -- an elementary and high school in Montezuma Creek and a Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school in Aneth -- had been put on emergency lockdown Thursday, but the pupils were allowed to go home at the end of the school day.

Dougherty said there was "not a clue" as to the motive for making up the story. He said Lee still was being questioned and would be transported to Salt Lake City by early Friday.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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