The FBI raids my home for the second time in five months. |
Today I awoke at 9am to FBI & ATF agents raiding my home in Salt Lake City. This is the second time my home has been raided in an A.L.F. investigation in five months.
Ten agents with the FBI and ATF corralled myself and my roommates into the living room, handed us a search warrant, and spent the next five hours removing belongings from our home.
The warrant indicated they were seeking evidence in recent Animal Liberation Front arsons, including two in Utah.
View the search warrant here.
The warrant called for seizure of the following (language borrowed directly from the warrant):
"Documents, correspondence, or computer files relating to:
? communications regarding criminal acts or plans to commit criminal acts in the name of animal rights;
? claims of responsibility for criminal acts, including correspondence between Walter Bond and animal rights extremist groups, such as the Animal Liberation Front, the North American Animal Liberation Press Office, and www.voiceofthevoiceless.org;
? individuals or groups involved with illegal animal rights extremist acts;
? the arsons at the Tandy Leather store and Tiburon restaurant in Salt Lake County, Utah, and the arson at the Sheepskin Factory in the Denver, Colorado area;
? animal rights extremism tenns, such as "go vegan," "straightedge," "A.L.F.," or the moniker "Lone Wolf;"
? correspondence between Walter Bond and Peter Young;
? mechanisms, tools, and field guides/instruction manuals used to facilitate illegal animal rights extremism acts; and
? evidence that Walter Bond lived at the residence in 2010."
(Note: Walter Bond is in jail in Colorado, accused of burning down a Sheepskin Factory store in Denver).
The warrant also sought "evidence of accelerants used in the arsons in Utah", computers, phones, and all electronic storage media.
Every member of the house was taken outside by an FBI agent individually and asked if they wished to "cooperate". As every member of the house responded with some variation of "no comment", an FBI agent asked questions including: if they had information to provide about Walter Bond or the "Lone Wolf" arsons, inquiries about other roommates, and offers to have seized items returned quickly in exchange for informing on Walter Bond and others. One female at the house was told during questioning "you could really help us" by accepting an informant role and secretly providing information about me. (In a post next week, I will cover my experiences with the FBI using women as paid informants to target male activists.) Also mentioned repeatedly by agents during their attempted questionings was their belief that Walter Bond was a one-time resident of the house (the assertion is completely false).
Every person questioned was told in various ways that, while Walter Bond was the ostensible target of the warrant, an unstated target was myself. One roommate was told - "I know what the warrant says, but you know who we're really here for. We want Peter Young".
During their attempted questioning of me, an FBI agent stated he realized the chances of me cooperating were "not very good", but that it was "time for (me) to grow up" and "put this behind (me)" by giving them information for their investigation. I was also told erroneously that because I was not under arrest, I did not have the right to speak to an attorney.
As stated, this is the second raid of the residence - an established Salt Lake City activist house - in five months. The first sought evidence in the 2004 Animal Liberation Front raid of the University of Iowa, in which 401 animals were rescued. The FBI attempted to link me to the action, both tangentially, and by assumptions of vey poor footing. They successfully argued probable cause to a judge who granted a warrant, and in March the FBI spent 7 hours searching my home.
The warrant indicated that the Voiceof the Voiceless reporting done on the recent A.L.F. "Lone Wolf" arsons may be a factor in the raid. The warrant specifically calls for seizure of "documents, correspondence, or computer files" relating to "communications between Walter Bond and.... Voice of the Voiceless".
When the raid concluded, the FBI severely damaged the rear of their vehicle when exiting the driveway by hitting a pole.
- Peter Young