Saturday, July 08, 2006

Canadian & U.S. SWAT Team Raids Law-Abiding Gun Dealer


Original story from Alex Jones' Infowars website. Mainstream media corroboration from a story in the Billings Gazette, Montana's leading newspaper. While the story is old, it's really taking off, with Alex Jones expounding on it. Could a similar sequence of events happen here in Alaska?

A Dillon, Montana man had his home raided on Wednesday June 7th, 2006 by 40 FBI, BATF and Canadian law enforcement agents after handing out Alex Jones' material to his local Sheriff which was subsequently deemed 'subversive'. The specific branch of Canadian law enforcement was unspecified, however I learned from a Canadian contact that there is no such entity as "Canadian AFT", and the RCMP has a history of cooperative cross-border operations with American law enforcement (sounds like a dress rehearsal for the North American Union, doesn't it?).

Richard Celata owns KT Ordnance, which sells 80% completed firearms kits intended for purchasers who want to avoid having to register their weapons in government databases. The kits are completely legal in Montana. He was also politically active in disseminating the material of Alex Jones and other patriot authors in his area, including handing out material to his local Sheriff.

"On Monday morning the Sheriff called me and said, I've read all your stuff, I would like to speak to you on Wednesday, could you come in," Celata told GCN radio host Jack Blood.

Celata said he thought the scheduled meeting on Wednesday was strange because there was an election on the Tuesday and the Sheriff wouldn't have known whether he'd still be in office or not. Then on Wednesday morning the Sheriff called Celata saying "I lost the election and it's even more important that we have our meeting than it was before". Immediately Celata collected material he had previously handed out to the Sheriff and went to his office.

"I walk into the room and there's way too many people in the Sheriff's office," said Celata. At that point, Celata said he knew he was in trouble as he was introduced to BATF and FBI agents and handed a search warrant and a promise that his premises were going to be raided. "I read the search warrant and lo and behold there's no signed affidavit," said Celata.

Celata told the Sheriff that the search warrant was therefore void to which the FBI and BATF responded that the affidavit was secret and sealed by the court. "Now they can make up the affidavit to match what they found if they want to," said Celata as he was told that the agents would carry out the search anyway.

Celata was then escorted by an estimated 40 FBI, ATF and Canadian law enforcement agents to his property. He asked if he could call his wife so as to enable her and their two small children to leave the property before the SWAT team arrived but was refused on the grounds that he might be giving her a secret code to destroy evidence. However, the Sheriff allowed the call to be made and the family was able to leave. At no point was Celata shown any identification by any of the agents.

The gaggle of agents, which now included Canadian agents, then began the process of methodically cataloguing and seizing Salada's possessions - bizarrely urinating on the exterior of the property ignoring the two bathrooms located inside the building.

Celata was told, without being shown any supporting evidence, that five of the pistols he had sold were used to commit murders in Canada. "I said look, guns don't kill people - people kill people," said Celata.

Following the raid Celata was questioned on his ownership of a Citizen's Rulebook, speeches by George Washington and Alex Jones' books and videos. He was asked why he read and listened to them and if he believed them. The agents then asked Celata if he was in a militia or if he knew anyone that was. Celata had previously sent out material asking why Montana didn't have a state organized militia when it was required by law.

The agents then specifically asked Celata about specific individuals in the freedom movement, including JPFO's (Jews for Preservation Of Firearms Ownership) Aaron Zelman, author Devvy Kidd and constitutional attorney Edward Vieira. The only way the agents could have known about Celata's interest in the work of Kidd and Vieira was if they had gained access to his e-mail. After this three hour interrogation the agents took Celata's entire inventory of 80% finished frames, copied his computer hard drive (causing the computer to break down), and left.

Celata's lawyer, Quentin Rhoades of Missoula, said if Celata is charged with a crime, the government's case will come down to 'what constitutes a gun.' Rhoades, who has represented the Montana Shooting Sports Association in other gun cases, said Celata did not intend to sell illegal firearms. "It's legal to create your own firearm, as long as you do it yourself," Rhoades said. "He would provide instructions on how to complete that process, but he would not do it for you." The so-called 80 percent market of gun products is a legal undertaking that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is well aware of, Rhoades said.

And Celata is well known because he's one of the leading manufacturers of those products, but there are several other people selling similar gun parts. "They've been wanting to shut down the 80 percent built market for a while, but they'd have to change the Constitution to do that," Celata said. "Or they can just raid you and scare everybody away."

Analysis: There are several constitutional issues here:

1). The "SWAT" team refused to produce any credentials upon request. Being dressed up in SWAT gear doesn't make one a cop. Anyone can buy that stuff.

2). The affidavit justifying the warrant was sealed. This implicitly violates the constitutional premise that a warrant must in advance specify the place to be searched and the items or persons to be seized. The affidavit could be made up to match the items seized later.

3). They didn't even want to allow Celata to call his family and get them out of the house, claiming he would transmit a "secret" code. So whilke they wanted Celata to extend unconditional trust to them, they in turn would extend no trust to him. Fortunately, the sheriff overruled them.

4). Inclusion of Canadians on the SWAT team subjected an American citizen, Celata, to the authority of a foreign law enforcement agency on American soil.

5). The SWAT team has confiscated Celata's personal property and has not returned it. Not only is this theft, but it also implicitly violates the presumption of innocence.

The conduct of the sheriff was shameful. While I'm not an advocate of "Posse Comitatus", the sheriff, being the chief law enforcement authority of a county, should not be acting like the puppet of a bunch of jackbooted Federal thugs. The sheriff needs to assert the rule of law in his or her county.

There's also a danger to government agents who behave this way. If government agents do not show credentials and establish their identity, someone who may have had a bad experience with police impersonators might decide these agents are also impersonators, and resist the raid with lethal force, causing unnecessary loss of life.

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  1. "There's also a danger to government agents who behave this way. If government agents do not show credentials and establish their identity, someone who may have had a bad experience with police impersonators might decide these agents are also impersonators, and resist the raid with lethal force, causing unnecessary loss of life."

    You'd think they learned their lesson after Ruby Ridge.

    As for what would happen if federal, jackbooted thugs tried the same thing in Alaska, my guess is that some of them would be going home in body bags. Alot of people own guns up here. The "presumption" Alaskans would have is that these unidentified thugs are coming to kill us. Principles of self-defense and self-preservation dictate that these thugs forfeit their lives.

  2. That's exactly my reaction. If a gaggle of people bust into my house hollering and screaming, I will assume they are intruders and act accordingly unless they quickly establish their bonafides. Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

    Fortunately, we're so pro-Second Amendment up here that even the Democrats get good ratings from the NRA.