In September I wrote about the capture of Animal Liberation Front activist Justin Samuel. Samuel was arrested in Belgium after fleeing the United States to avoid federal charges related to the release of animals from fur farms. Upon his return to the United States, Samuel plead guilty to two misdemeanors.
Last week Samuel became the first person sentenced under the federal animal enterprise terrorism law and received a two year sentence in federal prison for his role in the animal releases. He was also ordered to pay more than $360,000 to business he had harmed. The sentence was the maximum allowable for misdemeanor charges under the statute.
In sentencing Samuel, federal magistrate Stephen Crocker told Samuel that, “You have the right to voice an opinion, but you’re not being prosecuted or sentenced for voicing an opinion but for engaging in an act of terrorism.”
Peter D. Young, who allegedly accompanied Samuel on his fur farm raids, also fled after being indicted and remains at large. The duo released about 36,000 mink from Wisconsin farms during October 1997, but were found in the area with a list of mink farms compiled by the ALF as well as equipment designed to carry out raids against fur farms.
Samuel was allowed to plea bargain to misdemeanor charges after agreeing to “make a full, complete, truthful statement regarding his involvement in violations of federal criminal statutes charged in the original Indictment, as well as the involvement of all other individuals known to him regarding the crimes charged in that Indictment. And the defendant agrees to testify fully and truthfully at any trials or hearings.”
Samuel’s decision to cooperate with authorities hasn’t exactly endeared him to the ALF crowed, but here’s hoping his testimony ensure that he’ll soon be joined in prison by other animal rights terrorists.
Animal rights activist gets two years in prison. The Associated Press, November 3, 2000.
Activist sentenced for letting minks go. Kevin Murphy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 4, 2000.