Saturday, February 21, 2009

Organic Co-op Raided at Gunpoint for Lack of a Permit

On December 1, 2008, the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Lorraine County health department executed a search and seizure SWAT raid against the Stower family, who operated a food co-op for friends and neighbors from their home. Snipers were stationed outside the home. Two women, ten children being homeschooled, along with babies and toddlers, were corralled at gunpoint while a dozen agents swept through the house for six hours, taking co-op property along with the family's personal meat supply for the coming year, and the computer the family's daughter-in-law used to communicate with her husband, stationed in Iraq.

Oh, and the search warrant had expired.

The family lacked a permit to operate a retail operation. This is a 3rd degree misdemeanor in Ohio, and the family had been in communication with the health department, asking for legal documentation to prove or disprove that the allowed exemption to the permit requirement did not apply to them.

This account includes a statement from the Stowers. Read comments from the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund and the Buckeye Institute.

1 comment:

Find joy in every journey said...

This is horrible! A farmer I have purchased beef from was also carted off to jail in PA for selling raw milk without a permit. I get so frustrated with the injustice, so many kids I work with that deal/use drugs get let off from their crimes and families like this are not. Injustice!