In the pre-dawn hours of April14th, 2021, swarms of Federal Agents from several agencies raided our home and property. I was approached in our back yard by several agents in full tactical gear with automatic rifles aimed at me, at the same time my wife was confronted at our front door by several more agents in full tactical gear and automatic rifles who were in the process of breaking into our home.
Over the course of the next 8 to 9 hours, my wife and I were held under armed guard while dozens of agents and tons of equipment were used to search our home, outbuildings, and property. In our estimation, 2 to 3 armored vehicles, helicopter(s), drones, all-terrain vehicles, box trucks, and somewhere between 60 and 80 agents were used. Some were even flown in from Washington, DC specifically for the raid and seizure.
What horrendous crime could warrant such action? The unsubstantiated accusation that my home-based business was manufacturing and selling unregistered firearm parts.
Based on these unsubstantiated accusations, our bank accounts were emptied, businesses shut down or crippled, all money was seized from the home including the rolled coins on our bookshelf (they graciously left the pennies), and all electronics were seized (including the hard drive for the security cameras).
No firearms were seized but parts and inventory relating to the alleged items as well as items not on the warrant were seized and taken. This included parts of rain collection systems and vacuum pump systems that were taken and catalogued as illegal firearms.
The primary questions my wife and I were asked were about where the money was. It almost seemed as though the accusations were just a vehicle to seize the money.
As the Civil Asset Forfeiture Law requires, they are bound by law to file criminal charges or file a civil suit for the seized property within 60 days, therefore, I believed that I would quickly be able to defend myself and have my property returned.
Unfortunately, they have learned to manipulate the laws and the system so that after 2 1/2 years, no criminal charges have been filed, property has not been returned, and we have been blocked from going to court.
Here is what has happened:
The DOJ filed a civil asset forfeiture case against us.
The DOJ immediately sought and was granted an indefinite stay from the court so that the case can’t be argued in court. Our attorney was not even allowed to be present.
We filed a civil suit against the ATF to adjudicate the legality of the products in question.
The DOJ filed an additional civil suit against us.
The DOJ immediately sought and was granted an indefinite stay from the court on the second lawsuit as well, so that the case can’t be argued in court. Again, our attorney was not even allowed to be present.
The DOJ petitioned our suit against them be dismissed so that the case can’t be argued in court. The dismissal was granted. Again, our attorney was not even allowed to be present.
We filed an appeal on the dismissal of our lawsuit as our Due Process Rights are being violated with the indefinite stays placed on the other suits.
The Appellate Court upheld the dismissal as according to them, we have a legal recourse in the other lawsuits, even those suits have been indefinitely stayed.
The Department of Justice continues to argue that it is an ongoing investigation and that my lawsuit to adjudicate the legality of my products was a way to avoid prosecution. Let that one sink in.
We were told by the agents during the raid that the investigation had already been under way for over a year. The investigation is allegedly still ongoing after 2 ½ years without any answers. In a binding document, a Federal Agent swore under oath that the investigation was with a Grand Jury in December of 2021 and yet, there are still no criminal charges.
If they can do this to us, no one is safe (as seen in other recent raids). If they can prevent us from defending ourselves, avoid presenting evidence or back up their claims on the warrant application, then they can do this to anyone regardless of guilt or innocence.
Everyone who has anything of value needs to be concerned that Government Agencies can unilaterally declare you guilty, steal your property and prevent you from challenging their actions.
Although we are at the very tip of these atrocities, this issue is critical to everyone in this country, particularly as Civil Asset Forfeiture often effects poor and minority populations the most. This issue transcends race or politics and effects all of us.
The continued actions by the Department of Justice bring up several questions that everyone in this country deserves an answer to.
First and foremost, how is it that our government can send armed agents to our homes without overwhelming proof that a serious and violent crime has been committed?
Why are they determined to prevent us from seeing any of the warrant affidavits containing their sworn accusations against us?
Why are they continuing to say it is an ongoing investigation after 2 ½ years even though they have in a sworn statement declared that it was presented to a Grand Jury on or before December 2021? Is the investigation ongoing?
What are they desperately trying to hide from us and the public by preventing us from going to court?
Their actions must be brought to light to face the scrutiny of the Law, The US Constitution, and the American people.
They have stripped us of all resources to challenge their actions which is why we are asking for your help.