SWAT Team Like Raid by Ohio authorities on a farm house in LaGange <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Ohio authorities stormed a farm house in LaGange Monday, December 1, to execute a search warrant, holding the Jacqueline and John Stowers and their son and young grandchildren at gunpoint for nine hours. During the raid the Ohio Department of Agriculture and police confiscated over ten thousand dollars worth of food, computers and cell phones. The Stowers' crime? They run a private, members-only food co-op.
While state authorities were looking for evidence of illegal activities, the family was not informed what crime they were suspected of, they were not read their rights or allowed to make a phone call. The children, some as young as toddlers, were traumatized by armed officers interrogating the adults with guns drawn.
The Morning Journal, a newspaper serving northern Ohio, reported that the Stowers were believed to be operating without a license. However, the Stowers claim that the food co-op they run does not engage in any activities that would require state licensing.
Friends of the Stowers openly question why such aggressive tactics were necessary to investigate a licensing complaint.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture has apparently been chastised by the courts in previous cases for over-reach, including entrapment of an Amish man to sell raw milk, which backfired, when it became known that the man gave milk instead of selling it to a state undercover agent, refusing to take money for what he believed to be a charitable act. The Amish literally interpret the Gospel of Matthew (5:42) to "give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away."
The matter has been forwarded to the Lorain County Prosecutor's Office and the Lorain County General Health District according to Lorain County court records.
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