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SLC home raided; FBI search warrant names activist Peter Young

by Jesse Fruhwirth
- Posted // 2010-03-16 -

A Salt Lake City home was raided yesterday by the FBI who was hunting for information regarding animal rights activist, Peter Young.

The last time I spoke to Young was September 2008 when Young offered a $2,500 defense fund to anyone arrested in connection with a mink farm sabotage in Kaysville, Utah. A mink industry spokesperson wondered aloud to me about whether that was a violation's of Young's probation. He was on probation for his own sabotaging of at least six mink farms, which he now admits to doing. He was convicted in 2005 and imprisoned until 2007. He was a Cause célbre during his prosecution and incarceration, hence the "Support Peter" Website. The mink industry spokeswoman I talked to in 2008 said she would call prosecutors in Wisconsin, where he was tried, and report what he was up to with the defense fund.

I never heard anything about Peter Young again, until today*.

According to today's Tweets from @DJJustinStrange, "the FBI raided my house yesterday. we were detained for about 8 hours on my living room couch. they wouldn't allow any phone calls."

Within moments, he added the following:

  • 12-15 agents that stormed the front and the back of the house. three pulled me off my bed
  • they let one of my female roommates go to work, but refused to even let me call mine. i told them i worked at the library.
  • they confiscated all phones, computers, cameras, ipods, etc. it looks like our house was burglarized. and i imagine it feels the same

I just chatted with Strange, not his real name, but he declined to give the real one. He was short on details, but the residents were not handcuffed, agents did not draw weapons, and besides having to sit next to each other for 8 hours and ask to use the bathroom, Strange had few complaints about the treatment.

But when the FBI serves a search warrant, you better expect your home to look post-earthquake. Strange and his roommates are still trying to figure out what's going on

"We're actually a little more surprised," Strange said. "We thought the house would becompletelytorn apart, but it was really three rooms they focussed on. That is a disaster area."

Strange described the home as "totally vegan communal living space."

I called the FBI field office in Utah. They verified the authenticity of this search warrant, said they executed it with Iowa agents, and had no further comment.

I also hope to get in touch with Young.

This blog post has more background.

*Though I missed the news then, Peter Young apparently spoke empathetically to local news media in November about the motivations of William James Viehl, 23, and Alex Jason Hall, 21, who were/are accused of raiding a South Jordan mink farm. Viehl is now serving 24 months in federal prison; Hall's case is still pending. The Animal Liberation Front took credit for South Jordan mink farm sabotage ahead of Viehl and Hall being charged.follow_jesse.jpg

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