“A raiding party of twenty agents from three different agencies descended on Michael Schmidt’s Ontario Farm at 7 this morning with a simple message: he could be looking at 14 years in jail in connection with conspiracy charges in connection with the scrapie sheep case from last April.
The agents didn’t actually have any kind of indictment or charges, just a search warrant that gave them authority to confiscate the four computers at his Glencolton Farm, and to copy all the information from all iPhones they could find. But the warrant indicated that the search was in connection with potential conspiracy charges for Schmidt’s suspected involvement in the sheep case. The agents were from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), as well as provincial and local police.
The agents also had authority to confiscate all electronic equipment, including the videos or other equipment of anyone who wanted to record the events. When Schmidt’s wife, Alyssa, began to take photos, they confiscated her camera. A guest from Germany staying at Schmidt’s farm had his iPhone confiscated when he began recording the search.
“This was something new,” Schmidt told me, about the confiscation of electronic equipment. He should know–he’s probably had half a dozen or more raids at his farm since the first one in 1993, mostly in connection with raw milk sales. He has recorded videos of the searches in the past. “They are getting careful–too many pictures are getting out” of raids and enforcement actions. As a result, there are only a few still photos of what occurred during the seven hours the agents were at his farm.
The agents raided the farm of Montana Jones as well. She runs the Ontario farm whose sheep were targeted for destruction in April in connection with an investigation into scrapie among the sheep. She questioned the accuracy and authenticity of testing that showed one of her sheep had scrapie. Before the sheep could be confiscated, they mysteriously disappeared one night, and an organization, “Farmers Peace Corp.”, took credit for their disappearance.
According to Schmidt, “They are looking at me as the leader of the Farmers Peace Corps.”
The 31 sheep were thought to possibly harbor scrapie, a fatal degenerative disease that can spread among sheep and goats. When 28 sheep were found by Canadian authorities in late June and slaughtered and tested, they were negative for scrapie….”