Sunday, January 30, 2011

MAKING THE WORLD SAFE FOR FOOD

News Release
For Immediate Release
January 8, 2011

Task Force Investigation Results
in Arrest of Eight Area Residents
Several agencies involved;
Large amount of milk, cheese, curds and whey, and cash seized

More than 28 federal and local law enforcement officers fanned out across La-La Land Thursday morning in a massive takedown capping a three-year, multi-agency investigation that targeted major suppliers of unpasteurized products to some of the most violent food gangs based in the area.

Joseph P. Dehimwite, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Food Enforcement Administration, La-La Land Field Division, and Peter Paumkineter, Assistant Attorney for the Southern District of La-La Land, today announced that eight individuals have been charged with various federal food offenses related to the distribution of unpasteurized milk and cheese in the La-La Land area. This matter stems from a Food Enforcement Administration Task Force investigation dubbed “Operation Curds and Whey.” The investigation, which included the participation of several agencies and local departments, and included the use of court-authorized wiretaps, has resulted in the seizure of approximately 260 gallons of milk, two hundred pounds of cheese, $650 in cash, one fruit basket, and several heads of organic lettuce.

“I want to acknowledge the extraordinary effort of all of the agents and officers who participate on the Task Force, and all the local departments who devoted significant time and resources to this investigation,” stated Attorney Paumkineter. “Their coordinated efforts have taken a substantial amount of milk off the streets, and this investigation could not have been done without them.”

“Operation Curds and Whey is another example of great cooperation between the Food Enforcement Administration, our state and local law enforcement partners, and the Office of the La-La Land Attorney,” stated Special Agent in Charge Dehimwite. “The charges in this indictment allege a criminal conspiracy by several weirdos with dairy products being distributed and the proceeds from those sales being returned to traffickers. By working together, law enforcement agencies were able to completely dismantle this trafficking group.”

“I want to compliment the Food Enforcement Administration and officers who worked so diligently to investigate, identify, and arrest these individuals who are alleged to have operated a high-level dairy dealing operation,” stated Chief Baumbler, Chief of the Whoville Police Department. “The flow of illegal milk into the City and region has been significantly interdicted. We believe that cooperative agreements work to everyone’s advantage, and we hope to continue this relationship in our continuing battle against illegal food.”

The eight individuals charged in various counts of an eight-count indictment are:

ESTHER MUFFET, also known as “Lil’ Miss,” 32,

FANTASIA PEEP, also known as “Bo,” 36,

ABAGAIL HUBBARD, also known as “Mother,” 38,

WILLIAM BROWN, also known as “Farmer,” 58,

ADRIANNE LONGSTOCKING, also know as “Pippy,” 29,

CHRISTOPHER NICHOLAUS, also known as “The Saint,” 27,

MARK PHINN, also known as “Huckleberry,” 22,

SARAH RIDENHOOD, also known as “Lil’ Red,” 23,

Thursday’s arrests come after a grand jury returned an indictment against the defendants who allegedly trafficked in large quantities of milk, cheese, and other organic food products. The charges in the indictment include conspiracy to distribute raw milk and unpasteurized cheese as well as organic labeling violations. The defendants were expected to be arraigned in District Court Thursday afternoon.

According to court documents and statements made during court proceedings, the Task Force investigation revealed that MUFFET had allegedly been trafficking in raw milk and multi-ounce quantities of cheese. It is alleged that MUFFET received the milk and cheese from PEEP, who had received it from BROWN, a farmer outside of La-La Land. On January 12, 2011, law enforcement received information that HUBBARD, an associate of BROWN’s, picked up a substantial quantity of milk money from the neighbors. In the early morning hours of January 2, HUBBARD was the subject of a law enforcement traffic stop during which approximately $44 in milk money was seized. Later that morning, LONGSTOCKING and NICHOLAUS were arrested at PHINN’s apartment at 1623 Mayberry Street. During a search of the apartment, law enforcement personnel found approximately four pounds of goat cheese and a Folgers coffee can with approximately $27.85 in cash. RIDENHOOD was arrested later that same day, and an additional five pounds of cheese and approximately $20 hidden in a reusable grocery bag was seized from her. It is also alleged that RIDENHOOD supplied PHINN and NICHOLAUS with several servings of green eggs and ham at her grandmother’s house, and that NICHOLAUS was an alternate source of organic muffins and honey to BROWN.

On January 4, 2011, a grand jury returned an indictment charging MUFFET, PEEP, BROWN, HUBBARD and the others with various federal food offenses. On January 13, 2011, seven of the eight defendants were arraigned in District Court in La-La Land. On January 14, the final defendant, WILLIAM BROWN, turned himself in at the grocery store. He is expected to be arraigned in the near future after he washes the mud off his boots.

Besides the arrests, the La-La Land Attorney’s Office filed a civil “abatement” lawsuit Thursday to shut down trafficking activities at a notorious food co-operative used as a hangout by a foodie gang.

If convicted, a number of the defendants face a minimum term of 10 years watching fast food commercials, a maximum term of life without fresh vegetables, fines of up to $4,000,000, and 30 lashes with a wet noodle. Due to prior food trafficking convictions, a number of defendants face increased penalties.

In addition to the significant resources provided by the Whoville Police Department, Attorney Paumkineter specifically noted the critical assistance that the Wonderland, Fairyland, Tinseltown, Dreamland, Playland, and Fantasyland Police Departments contributed to the investigation. Additional assistance was provided by Woody’s Marshal’s Service and the State of Overkill Office of Parole.

Operation Curds and Whey began in the wake of the multi-agency “Red Red Robin” investigation, which in 2008 resulted in the arrest of nearly four dozen foodies and farmers in the Walla Walla Sisboomba area. The law enforcement agencies involved in Operation Red Red Robin initiated the probe three years ago to identify the origins of the illicit food being distributed by two Wonderland area street gangs – the Downtown Chefs and the Side Street Bakers. Investigators identified traffickers who dealt pound quantities of butter and dozens of farm fresh eggs, much of which was converted into very tasty entrees and baked goods.

Using a variety of investigative techniques – including telephone wiretaps, informants and surveillance – investigators determined that gang members were responsible for funneling thousands of dollars worth of healthy food a month onto the streets of La-La Land.

“As a result of this investigation and enforcement action, we’ve dismantled an entire food trafficking network, from the street dealer to the actual supplier,” said Clem Cadiddle-Hopper, Special Agent in Charge for the Office of Food Security Investigations in La-La Land. “We believe these defendants were responsible for funneling large quantities of raw milk, unpasteurized cheese, and inappropriately labeled organics into our communities. With today’s arrests, we’ve shut down that potentially deadly supply chain and cut off what was a key source of cash for some of the most ruthless and violent foodies operating in this area.”

“Today’s operation is an outstanding example of the partnerships working to successfully improve the quality of life in the communities we serve. This is the culmination of a long-term partnership with law enforcement agencies which significantly reduced the operations of a number of food gangs operating on the streets of La-La Land. Our message to foodie freaks is this – don’t underestimate the will of law enforcement to put you in jail. We will take as much time and effort as is necessary to make sure your criminal enterprises are ended.”

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime.  Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in court.

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My mocking, fictitious press release is founded on information I believe is true. Below are a few links I found searching the Internet for a few minutes. I suspect you can find more examples.
 
While it’s true there is plenty of dubious information on the Internet, and I didn’t investigate these links fully, there are too many of these stories, and too many details, to just dismiss them as isolated or hoaxes. I’ll let you be the judge of the authenticity of this information and its importance.

My own view is that it is ridiculous and horrifying that in the "land of the free," intelligent adults are treated like criminals for choosing to eat food that has not been approved by the government.


http://www.activistpost.com/2010/08/raiding-and-regulating-new-enemies-in.html

http://www.grist.org/article/food-five-tips-for-surviving-a-raid-on-your-farm-or-food-club/

http://www.farmtoconsumer.org/

http://www.activistpost.com/2010/08/video-armed-police-raid-private-organic.html

http://www.naturalnews.com/029322_raw_milk_Amish.html

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jul/25/business/la-fi-raw-food-raid-20100725

http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/08/swat-team.htm

http://wholefoodusa.wordpress.com/2010/06/03/alert-amishman-busted-for-raw-milk/

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