An innocent man who was merely in the neighborhood of the Federal gun raid was unlawfully detained and is now speaking out
[Editor’s Note: We have changed the names of the citizens involved in the raid until the matter can be better sorted out by federal law enforcement. You can read the first 2 articles in this series by clicking Here(1) and Here(2). Also, Sheriff Brian Heino’s interview on Montana Gazette Radio has been postponed until next week]
In Montana Daily Gazette’s continuing coverage of the Marion gun raid, we find ourselves at a point in the narrative that reveals the collateral damage associated with any home raid conducted by law enforcement. Specifically, the innocent bystanders whose lives, and livelihoods, are put in jeopardy by federal law enforcement’s “everybody is assumed guilty” modus operandi.
The following article will highlight the first-hand account of “John Doe II,” an innocent bystander who was detained about a 1/4 mile from his house as he made his way to work on the morning the raid took place. The quotes contained in the article are all attributed to Doe II, as the target of the raid, who heretofore will be known as “John Doe I,” has not been questioned by Montana Daily Gazette at this time.
Imagine leaving your home to go to work like any other day and being detained by federal law enforcement agents for 2 hours, without being charged with a crime or without anyone reading your Miranda rights. Doe II doesn’t need to imagine a scenario such as this, for he lived it.
“They thought I was [Doe I].” After they glanced at Doe II’s wallet, which was in their possession, one agent stated, “that’s not him.” They obviously didn’t know what car was Doe I’s as they stopped me thinking I was him. “Who’s at your house?” Then they began questioning me asking “do you have anyone at the house.?”
I saw one Bearcat and 30 other vehicles and vans. Guns pointed at me. Anyone could have been killed at any time. Not all the vehicles were the same, but SUV types, and I was detained in a white SUV without my rights being read to me.
Clearly, that has to be against the law. The first deputy handcuffed me and it was painful. He stated that it was fine. I asked the second deputy to loosen them up, which he did.
“I kept thinking to myself, why do they want me? I haven’t done anything illegal.”
I asked them, “Am I under arrest?” They answered with, “No, you are not under arrest; you are being detained.”Then it dawned on me maybe they were going after [Doe I]. “You don’t want me calling him” right?”
Doe I and Doe II have been neighbors for about 5 years and their respective homes are situated about 200 feet apart from each other and have parallel driveways. Relying on his military training and common sense, Doe I had previously installed surveillance cameras leading up to his home.
I laughed and told the officers, You realize that he knows you’re coming. [Doe I] knows you’re coming, I told them. He knows you’re coming because he has surveillance videos leading up to his property. He can see you coming.
My wife was back at our house, about 1/4 mile away, when she saw a helicopter overhead. She tried to call me, but the officers had my phone, so the call never got to me. She was concerned because she heard an explosion and didn’t really know where I was. No one came to my house to speak with her after I was detained.
When asked about his opinion on Doe I and his relationship as a neighbor, Doe II stated the following:
As far as [Doe I] is concerned, I’ve never seen anything that would incriminate him. He is just a plain, old citizen who loves his country. He is a good man with a lot of medical knowledge, as well. A good neighborly man. He’s always told us, neighbors, if you get hurt, etc., just come to me. I have a lot of medical supplies and can help you out. He’s the guy you want on your side. I have no reason to suspect [Doe I] of doing wrong of any kind. He’s the kind of guy you want as a neighbor. Cordial, mellow, etc.
Doe I lives in the house with his best friend, who is also his ex-wife. However, on the day of the raid, his ex-wife was at work. Another neighbor then came down to sit with the elderly mother, and he was searched on his person and his car before allowed into the house to care for the victim’s elderly mother.
One of the topics of discussion that has arisen out of the Marion raid and surrounding events is the idea that federal agents acted too aggressively and came on too strong for the situation. The following is Doe II’s eyewitness account of the gross examples of federal overreach in this case.
When the feds took [Doe I] into custody, they STILL afterward broke out windows, etc., and executed a flashbang which was uncalled for, and a huge government overreach. The victim’s mother’s car was also destroyed by all the broken windows etc., and items they tossed out the window.
Thankfully for Doe II, agents never entered his home, nor did they confiscate any of his firearms. Nonetheless, Doe II received a list of items confiscated from Doe I during the operation. Doe II recounts his visit with Doe I after he was released from custody and allowed back home.
When [Doe I]returned home from jail 3 days after the raid, with a minimal bond, and on his own recognizance, I went to visit him to deliver some paperwork that was sent to me while he was away. Included in the paperwork were pieces of mail addressed to him, his mother, his ex-wife, and myself. One of the letters listed the ammo and guns that were removed from [Doe i]’s house during the raid. However, a lot of the property confiscated by the feds was not listed in the letter. We were all surprised at the paperwork, especially the fact that it came to both [doe i] and me. Truthfully, I thought the letter was an apology from the feds for detaining me for 2 hours without reading me my rights.
While the feds were conducting the raid, they disabled [Doe I’s] surveillance system. Was that so they could take some of the guns stored in Doe I’s house without the cold, hard proof that would emerge on a recording? We cannot answer that question at this time. Thankfully for Doe II, agents never entered his home or seized any weapons. Doe I, on the other hand, was not so lucky.
The numerous guns that were confiscated from [Doe I]’s property have not yet been returned and are still sitting at a lab in Missoula. None of my guns were taken, as they never entered my house
As the facts continue to emerge in the Marion raid case, we should soon get to the bottom of who the real criminals are. Is it a Montana FFL dealer with an alleged history of criminality, or is it the federal police forces who have a long and rich history of naked criminality? Time, as they say, will tell.
Keep an eye out for the next article on the Marion raid, as Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino will be speaking out soon.
[Editor’s Note: Contributed by Jim White and Brenda Roskos]