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Rawesome Foods raw milk co-op raid conducted by criminal elements of local, state and federal law enforcement
Friday, October 22, 2010 by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles...)
(NaturalNews) On June 30, 2010, a group of armed government agents from
local, state, federal and even the Canadian government illegally trespassed
on private property and raided Rawesome Foods, a private food buying club in
Venice, California. With guns drawn, these agents tore through the property
stealing computers, raw dairy products and honey, all while holding some of
the volunteer workers hostage for several hours. When the agents finally
left, they took with them thousands of dollars in private property as well
as the surveillance footage of their armed rampage.
Sounds like a scene out of a horror movie, right? Except this actually
happened, though unless you're tuned in to the health freedom movement,
you've probably heard nothing about it. Most of the mainstream media outlets
would never touch a story like this because it exposes just how tyrannical
and out of control our government has become on issues like raw milk and
[Editor's note: The reason we took so long to publish this story is because
we were waiting on some promised video footage of the raid -- footage that
never materialized. It is not yet clear whether this footage was confiscated
by police or simply lost, but there is reportedly additional footage of this
raid that nobody has seen yet. I regret that we have so far been unable to
obtain it for you.]
It all started back in 2005 when, according to a Rawesome member, an
under-cover agent was able to trick workers and get into the club without a
proper membership. The agent allegedly purchased some items there, and
authorities used this as an excuse to come back and raid the club. They
claimed that the club was engaging in commerce without a proper permit.
But Rawesome immediately notified the agents that the cooperative is a
private buying club that doesn't sell to the public. Therefore, it's
completely outside the scope of government jurisdiction. In other words,
government agents have no right to come on Rawesome's property uninvited,
unless they have a valid search warrant and a lawful reason to show up.
Rawesome submitted all the necessary legal documents to authorities after
the first raid, showing that the club is a legitimate, private membership
co-op, but that didn't stop the same agents from performing another illegal
raid five years later. Except this time, the agents had already been warned
that such harassment is illegal and unwarranted, so they knowingly
trespassed on private property without a legitimate reason.
The idea behind private buying clubs
Before going any further, let me explain why private buying clubs exist. In
order for most Americans to get food that's untainted, unprocessed and
unpasteurized, they have to form legal buying clubs that operate outside the
mandates of local health departments and departments of agriculture.
These mandates include things like requiring all dairy products to be
pasteurized, requiring that certain toxic chemicals be used to clean
processing equipment, and so on. So people that want clean, unadulterated
food either have to grow it themselves or buy it directly from farmers that
hold their same philosophies about growing and raising food.
But to purchase things like raw milk, for example, members have to sign
agreements with farmers in which they literally purchase a portion of a cow
or goat in order to legally gain access to the raw product from the animal.
So members basically own a portion of an animal and go to Rawesome to pick
up the milk from their own animal. This arrangement is often called "cow
sharing" or "goat sharing."
In California, clubs like Rawesome are perfectly legal -- they're basically
nothing more than a group of private individuals who collectively share
products from the animals and farms in which they own shares. There's
nothing criminal or illegal about it; it's what individuals are free to do
in the United States of America (although in some other states, cow and goat
sharing has been outlawed, if you can believe that).
But in Rawesome's case, the Feds ignored the fact that the club was
operating legally and lawfully, and decided to raid the club on false
grounds, apparently for intimidation purposes. The whole idea appears to be
to send a message to other raw food operations that if they try to sell raw
milk, they will be raided at gunpoint too!
False felony charges and missing warrant pages
Following a NaturalNews investigation into this case, there are several
things I want to point out that deserve critical attention. First, agents
conducted this raid on Rawesome under the false pretense that they were
addressing felony crime charges.
But Matthew, a member of Rawesome, explained during an interview with
NaturalNews reporter Ethan Huff that many of the agents who were there
during the raid had no idea what they were even raiding, or why they were
raiding it. (The following quotes are from Ethan Huff's conversations with
"Most of the local policemen who were there, they thought they were there
serving felony warrants. And they weren't really told what they were serving
them for," he explained. "One of the cop's mother shopped at Rawesome, so he
was pretty upset when he found out that that's where they were raiding."
The agents were simply following the orders that had been passed down to
them from higher-ups, even though these agents didn't really understand what
they were being ordered to do, or the fact that their raid was technically
So what happened after they arrived?
"A SWAT team came initially, they ... took all the cameras, from what I
understand they took financial data ... everybody's membership information,
computers ... they took all the security footage that would have shown what
the cops were doing."
"One guy was there with a camera, and they took his camera away and erased
it, and they even made all the workers and employees stand up, and took
pictures and profiles of everyone that was there. These are all Ron Paul
type people ... so they were pretty vocal when all this was happening,"
Creating the appearance of guilt
You would think that with an armed SWAT team present, there was some sort of
drug or terrorist activity going on, right? On the contrary, there was
nothing criminal at all going on except by those conducting the raid in the
According to the warrant that James, the operator of Rawesome, received from
the agents, the supposed felony charges for which the raid was conducted
were not felony charges at all. Every charge visible on the warrant was a
Even worse, the warrant only permitted the agents to take "vial" samples of
Rawesome products. But instead, the agents decided to just take everything
they possibly could.
"They came in and stole ... 17 coolers worth of product, when on their
search warrant it authorized the taking of vials of samples, which of course
would have fit under your underarm in a soft-sided cooler. So ... why were
they armed with 17 coolers when that was a violation of their own protocols
on their search warrant?"
The agents not only confiscated thousands of dollars worth of food products,
but they tagged most of the other food as "evidence" and ordered Rawesome
workers not to "sell" any more of it to members. From about 9 a.m. until 2
p.m., the agents remained on Rawesome's premises until they finally decided
Rawesome attends mandatory hearing the day after raid, gets no answers
As agents left the day of the raid, they informed James that he had to
attend a mandatory hearing the following day, July 1, at the Baldwin Park,
Cal. location of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). So James
complied in good faith, bringing with him Tony Blain, an attorney and member
of Rawesome, as well as another member.
Sitting around a conference room table at HHS were representatives from the
FDA, the FBI, the local health department and the California Department of
Food and Agriculture. Tony verbally challenged the group's jurisdiction in
conducting the raid, and informed them that the issue had already been
resolved several years prior when Rawesome submitted all the necessary
information to officials.
But after giving this testimony and questioning the agents repeatedly about
why the raid even occurred -- while receiving no valid explanation --
Rawesome' crew decided to leave. They literally got up and left and haven't
heard anything from those specific agencies since that day.
Rawesome didn't even receive a complete warrant
An interesting aspect to the Rawesome case is the fact that the agents
didn't even serve Rawesome a complete warrant.
"The search warrant says, of the four pages we got ... "four of 16", so
where are the other 12 pages," James stressed during a phone interview.
Sharon Palmer, a nearby farmer who raises club members' goats, has also been
raided four times in the last year-and-a-half, explained James, and in the
most recent raid, she didn't receive a complete warrant either.
"She only has three of 12 pages while we have four of 16 pages, so she
called the DA (district attorney), who refused to give her any information,
which of course would seem illegal is he's the man that was the person who
signed [as the] authority, and then got a judge to sign the search warrant."
"So she called the judge, who then hung up on her. And then she went
downtown to get her copy of the rest of the pages and was told that it's
But according to the few pages of the search warrants that both James and
Sharon received, it was specified plainly that the entire warrant had to be
served, so how could it legally be sealed?
"It's sinister, corrupt behavior," retorted James. "You would think that
they're the ones that are way more corrupt than anyone else."
What's really clear from all this is that law enforcement officials simply
make up the law as they go, abiding by nothing resembling due process. As
we've seen so often before in the nutritional supplements industry, members
of law enforcement will even falsify information in order to create
fictitious warrants that give them an excuse to raid any establishment they
wish. Read the history of raids on the Life Extension Foundation
(www.LEF.org) if you really want to see some fascinating information about
what goes on.
Check out this story I wrote in 2007 called Tyranny in the USA: The true
history of FDA raids on healers, vitamin shops and supplement companies at:
Building and safety code officials illegally raid and assault Rawesome just
two weeks later
If it's not bad enough that an armed SWAT team unlawfully raided a private
buying club and stole thousands of dollars of private property, consider the
fact that just two weeks after the first raid, local building and safety
code officials showed up and conducted their own mini-raid.
These building and safety code officials were not present during the first
raid, but mysteriously decided to show up unannounced, and search the
property to check for code violations. And in doing so, they broke the law
and their own protocol by failing to give proper notice.
"The building and safety code people have their own protocols, which we've
gone online to read," explained James. "If they want to enter a property in
order to see if there's any code violations ... they are supposed to contact
the owners of the property, in writing, and give us 30 days to get an
appointment [set up] to come on the property."
"They did none of that, and decided to enter the property after they were
even informed ... that it was private property and they were not allowed
According to James, these officials ignored warnings that they were
trespassing, and proceeded to force their way into the building, physically
shoving one of the Rawesome crew to the ground on the way in. So not only
did the officials violate the law by entering illegally, but they assaulted
a member of the club in the process.
What does the Canadian government have to do with all this, anyway?
Perhaps the strangest fact about the Rawesome raid is the fact that the
Canadian government was involved in conducting it. Since when does the
Canadian government have any lawful jurisdiction over local affairs in the
U.S.? What law gives them permission to violate private American property?
The answer, of course, is that there's absolutely no justifiable reason for
the Canadian government to be involved in any civil affairs here in the U.S.
And nobody at Rawesome seems to know why they were there, either.
"I had no idea why Canadian anything would be involved," expressed James. "I
have no clue."
Rawesome to press charges against the government for illegal harassment and
Rawesome operates as part of the larger organization called Right to Choose
Healthy Food (RTCHF) (www.Rawmilk.org), which is a non-profit trust
association with local food buying clubs like Rawesome located all across
the country. A few members of the organization are located in Canada, which
is perhaps the alleged justification for the Canadian government's
involvement in the raid.
Dr Aajonus Vonderplanitz, president of RTCHF, legally represents both
Rawesome and RTCHF, and is working on filing suit against officials for
their crimes against the club. And according to both James and Matthew,
practically every Rawesome member has indicated that they're onboard with
NaturalNews obtained a copy of the letter Aajonus sent to these officials
back in 2005, and it's more than clear that the agencies involved in the
raid flat out ignored the letter. If they had read it and taken it
seriously, there would not have been another raid (unless, of course, these
agencies have a different agenda that operates outside the law).
Private buying clubs do not involve interstate commerce
Regardless of what happened to prompt the first raid, there's no legitimate
reason for government agents to raid a private buying club, especially if
those agents deliberately planned a scheme to trick the club into selling to
a non-member (entrapment, anyone?).
There was no terrorist activity, no prostitution, no drug dealing -- none of
the outlandish things you would expect to have been taking place to justify
an armed raid. This was just a regular group of folks pursuing healthy
living through clean, whole, raw foods.
The whole things is really just another classic case of escalating
government tyranny over private enterprise here in the U.S., and it's
happening all across the country to many different co-ops and buying clubs.
Our Founding Fathers must be rolling in their graves over the gross abuse of
authority that today's government is criminally imposing over individual,
sovereign citizens, especially on issues of basic food freedoms.
You can't sell fresh milk from a cow? Are you kidding? America was raised on
raw milk from cows!
Federal tyranny escalates
The Feds have been raiding buying clubs all over the country recently,
including clubs in Ohio (http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=84445) and Wisconsin
(http://wholefoodusa.wordpress.com/2...). And Massachusetts legislators
recently tried to prohibit buying clubs via legislation
A lot of time and effort -- and taxpayer money -- is being spent bullying
and intimidating innocent people who simply want to eat healthy food without
If the public really knew about all this -- and how much it's costing them
in taxpayer dollars -- they would be outraged.
"If the public got wind of the fact that they're spending possibly hundreds
of thousands of dollars while they're laying off firemen, policemen,
schoolteachers ... the cities are broke and the counties and states are
broke, and they're spending public taxpayer funds on raiding private
membership clubs which have nothing to do with the public, wouldn't you
think the public would be in outrage?" James explained, referencing a
conversation he had with Sharon, a raw goat milk supplier.
He was also sure to note that it's most likely a few bureaucrats at the top
who are driving this agenda; most of the people actually carrying out these
raids don't even know that what they're doing is wrong. Cops are trained to
just follow orders and not question them.
"I believe that 99 percent of all the agents and all the agencies are just
ignorant. They're just doing their job. They don't know any better. They're
trained to do something and follow orders," he emphasized. "I don't have any
beef with any of those people. The only beef I have is with the few people,
wherever they are ... writing all these ridiculous, insane, unfair, unjust
But that doesn't justify the behavior of these agents, no matter who they
are. They are still responsible for stealing private property, causing undue
harm and trespassing illegally. When the cops become the criminals, stealing
raw milk while intimidating those who are trying to preserve the
availability of real food for health-conscious consumers, you know something
has gone horribly wrong with law enforcement.
If you'd like to learn more about Right to Choose Healthy Food (RTCHF) or to
find out what's happening with this case, visit: http://www.rawmilk.org to
NaturalNews wishes to thank reporter Ethan Huff for his investigative
contributions to this story. If you find this story interesting, please
forward this web page link to others who you think need to know.
NaturalNews, by the way, has a long history of covering illegal raids on
food freedom champions. See my related story, Raw Foodists Arrested for
Trafficking Chocolate; Interrogated for "Cacao Crimes" at:
Page Updated: Saturday October 23, 2010 02:42 AM Pacific
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