Legislative candidate charged with several felonies

- AMERICAN FORK Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – Mark Byrge says he’s an American patriot seeking political office.
But police see Byrge as a drug dealing suspect prone to violence. Now Byrge's career is at a crossroads.

“This is not something I wanted to do,” says Byrge on Monday. “This is something that had to be done.”

Last month Byrge says a man came to his American Fork home to settle a debt.

“I don't know the man's intentions except he's intending to teach me a lesson of some kind,” says Byrge.

He says the two had been texting prior to their confrontation on Byrge’s front steps. And when the man appeared, Byrge says he had his cane ready.

“I took it and hit him in the face,” he says.

The two fell to the ground. Byrge says he had a handgun at his side. He took it out he says to defend himself.

“I reached into my pocket (and) pulled out my 9 millimeter,” he says. “I chambered a round.”

With gun in hand Byrge says he took him into the house and claimed the man lunged at his wife.

“By law I could have shot him in the head but I restrained myself and hit him in the head and knocked him to the ground,” says Byrge.

Neighbors called police who came to the house. But a month later, police and prosecutors have come to a different conclusion.

"This argument, this discussion was over a drug debt,” says Lt. Sam Liddiard of the American Force police. “Mr. Byrge has been dealing with some illegal drugs for quite some time.”

Byrge claimed the debt was a loan to a friend.
"I loaned her $500 at the time,” he says. “So that she could make her rent.”

Police don't buy that. Monday night, the Utah County major crimes task force arrived at his home and arrested him for aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault and drug dealing.

“Mr. Byrge has been dealing drugs for well over three years,” says Lt. Liddiard. “These individuals have been buying and selling drugs from and for Mr. Byrge since that time frame."

But Byrge says the charges are bogus. He says police have a vendetta against him after a confrontation two years ago that he claims left him disabled. He says police left him disabled after they tried to arrest him on a warrant. He’s since filed a grievance with American Fork police and city.

"I don't fear the truth,” he says. “I don't fear your cameras and I don't fear your questions because I acted honorably. I acted within the law"

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