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Two men were arrested Tuesday at the old zoo in Colorado City, Ariz., sparking outrage from observers of the town that's home to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Marshals from Colorado City arrested Andrew Chatwin and Patrick Pipkin, both former members of the religion, and booked them into the Washington County, Utah, jail on suspicion of knowingly trespassing. The jail's website shows they were released from custody Wednesday morning.

Vicky Roundy, the supervisor at the North Canyon Court in Colorado City, reported later Wednesday that Chatwin and Pipkin appeared there and pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor trespassing charge. The two men were released on their own recognizance. Roundy did not specify when Chatwin and Pipkin are to appear in court again.

Neither Chatwin nor Pipkin returned messages seeking comment Wednesday.

The arrests come as the marshals, who also police adjoining Hildale, Utah, face mounting accusations that they are loyal to FLDS leaders. The marshals and the municipal governments in Colorado City and Hildale, collectively known as Short Creek, are being sued by the U.S. Department of Justice over alleged civil rights abuses. A trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 19 in Phoenix.

"Over the past 11 years of witnessing countless injustices take place against ex-FLDS residents of Short Creek, this has to be one of the most egregious incidents I have witnessed," private investigator Sam Brower wrote on his Facebook page.

Brower and Chatwin often worked together to document what goes on in the town and serve court papers for various clients. Both men appear in the documentary film "Prophet's Prey" airing on Showtime.

The dispute Tuesday focused on the old zoo in Colorado City. It has been without animals for years and is owned by the United Effort Plan, the trust operated by the state of Utah.

An attorney for the UEP, Jeff Shields, on Wednesday confirmed Pipkin and another man received a lease to raise crops or livestock at the old zoo. No one else had an agreement to live on or operate the property.

The zoo is considered a commercial property, so an attorney in Mohave County, Ariz., government told Pipkin he didn't need to follow the same legal process as a residential eviction, Shields said.

Isaac Wyler, who works for the UEP, said Pipkin and a business partner served eviction notices on it to discourage anyone from living there or tending to crops or livestock on the property. Wyler said one man, Chatwin's brother-in-law, was living in a shed, but Pipkin and the man worked out an agreement so he could remain. Mohave County sheriff's deputies were present for the final eviction Tuesday, Wyler said.

"There wasn't a conflict until about five hours later, that afternoon, when the marshals got there," Wyler said.

An attorney for the marshals, Blake Hamilton, said the domicile is not a shed, but rather a small residence that used to be where the zoo caretaker stayed. Hamilton confirmed that the resident, Pipkin and his business partner worked out an agreement, but Hamilton said the resident changed his mind when he saw locks being changed on gates. The occupant contacted Colorado City Chief Marshal Jerry Darger.

Brower and Wyler say the marshals arrived and said the man living at the zoo had a claim on the property and Pipkin, Chatwin and a few men with them were trespassing. At one point, Wyler said, deputies from Mohave and Washington counties arrived; they and the marshals called for backup from their respective police forces.

Hamilton said Darger consulted with Colorado City's prosecuting attorney and attorneys for Mohave County and determined that Pipkin, Chatwin and other men there were trespassing.

The marshals "gave them every opportunity to get off the property," Hamilton said.

Hamilton said Chatwin and Pipkin emptied their pockets, gave the contents to Brower — who had by then arrived — and told the marshals they wished to be arrested.

The two counties' deputies disagreed with the marshals on who had a right to the property, but the counties decided not to interfere in the marshals' arrests, Wyler said.

Brower wrote on his Facebook page that Darger "appeared to be receiving texts and receiving instructions from someone up until the the alleged trespassers were placed into cuffs."

Hamilton, however, said: "Jerry has not used text messages for years, is what he told me."

Wyler said multiple people at the scene took video of the discussions and arrests.

Darger and Hildale Mayor Philip Barlow were on their way to an awards ceremony Wednesday. The Utah Department of Public Safety is giving them and Washington County Sheriff Cory Pulsipher an award for collaborating with the many public safety agencies that responded to the September floods that killed 21 people.

Twitter: @natecarlisle