LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP)--A rancher accused of assaulting U.S. Forest Service rangers who were helping impound his cattle in the Gila National Forest was released from jail April 8.

Kit Laney, 43, was arrested March 14 and had been held since then in the Dona Ana County Detention Center.

U.S. District Judge John E. Conway on March 30 said Laney could be released April 8 to fellow rancher Bob Jones as long as Laney promised to steer clear of his Diamond Bar Ranch in the Gila.

Laney must stay within a 10-mile radius of Jones' Otero County ranch. Laney also will be monitored electronically and must regularly speak with his attorney.

U.S. Magistrate Karen Molzen initially had denied bail for Laney, who has been indicted by a grand jury on two counts of obstruction of justice, five counts of assaulting and interfering with federal officers and employees and one count of interfering with a court order.

The Forest Service has contended that Laney and his former wife, Sherry Farr, have illegally grazed their cattle in the Gila without a permit.

But Laney and Farr contend they have grazing rights established before the Gila Forest Reserve was created in 1899.

Courts have ruled against their arguments.

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