ATF Raid – Tyler’s narration
When I was 19 years old, at my home in Delta, Utah, on the morning of Tuesday Oct 23rd, 2007, at about 9:30am, I was in my bed and heard a commotion in the hall way. There was yelling and loud banging. The only word I could make out was “WARRANT!” It was not in a voice recognizable to me. I looked outside my window and saw a few vehicles in the long driveway, one of them being a local Millard County Sheriff Deputy’s truck. I got out of bed and got a little more dressed. I opened my door and saw armed SWAT men outside my room with large military-style rifles. Some had actually walked past my bedroom door in the next room. They had turned around when they saw me and demanded I place my hands on my head. They identified themselves as ATF and I also saw the markings on their gear.
They took me outside, padded me down, handcuffed, and arrested me. I sat in a lawn chair on the lawn as they continued to search the rest of my home. At this point, I hadn’t realized my father had gone to our warehouse in response to an alarm notification. When they asked me who was in the home I was responding, “My father and my grandmother.” After some time (maybe 30 minutes), they walked me back inside so I could finally use the bathroom. After which I was escorted into our family room where my grandmother usually spends her time in a soft chair. She was there, still in the chair. She explained to me that when they came in they just made sure she stayed in the chair as it is difficult for her to move.
One of the female ATF agents approached me while sitting on the couch soon after being led into the family room. She identified herself as Agent Sonja Everitt and explained she was a lead agent in charge of the raid. She showed me a folded piece of paper which was labelled “Search Warrant” except it was sealed so normally I wouldn’t be able to see it. However, she said she would let me look at it. I had never seen a search warrant and didn’t know what to look for. I had asked her why they were raiding our home and as she was trying to be polite, smiley and speaking softly, she explained “We’re investigating your father for a crime. You don’t have to worry about anything. It’s your father that we’re investigating.” Sonja left the room. Another male agent in the room was there guarding us. My grandmother finally asked “exactly what has my son done to deserve this?” To which his response was “Your son has been selling illegal machine guns!” in a very aggressive manner. Through conversation with this agent, he apparently was a rent-a-cop type swat member. He was not employed directly for the ATF, but what he described was some national swat team. He explained that he normally assisted law enforcement throughout the Salt Lake City area with their needs. I don’t remember his name, but I do remember he said he held a previous job as a border patrol agent.
Sonja Everitt had come back a couple of other times while I was in the room. One of the times she said they could remove the handcuffs from me, which they did. Agent Everitt explained that my father was brought back to the home, but they told him he needed to leave. My father got in another vehicle in our home and left as was asked of him. They said I could also leave if I wanted. As my grandmother wasn’t very mobile, I chose to stay with her until the agents were finished. At one point, they allowed me to go make her some soup and monitored me as I did so. Typically keeping one of the agents between me and the main office where they were spending most of their time. The office in the home was where the business records and most firearms were kept. I did watch maybe 20 armed agents walking throughout the home looking through about every corner of the house.
I watched them take mine and my grandmothers computers with them as well. At first, they were taking the monitors and keyboards with them. When I asked why they were taking those items, they responded that they can take whatever they want. A few moments later one of the agents said he had inquired and admitted he didn’t need to take the keyboards or monitors. Only the “CPU’s” he said. Which apparently to them means the whole computer tower. At about 3:00 pm in the afternoon, they gave me a copy of the “sealed search warrant” and a list of items they seized. They said they were headed to warehouse to finish with their search and seizure.
After I called my dad he returned to our house and I gave him the copies of the papers the raid agents had left with me. We noticed the warrant had no mention of any specific crime. It just listed a bunch of generic storage items and other technology hardware items which would “contain evidence related to this crime.” My name, nor my grandmother, Betty, was ever mentioned on their warrant. They still took our personal property, as well as property that belonged to other individuals not specifically mentioned on the warrant.
My dad and I looked the house over and found all my father’s personal & business files of papers had been dumped into one large pile on the floor of his office. It appeared to us that all firearms and most all computer related items were gone.
That evening, at about 10, my father took me with him to the family warehouse as the search warrant had a dead line limit of 10:00 pm. He said he was going to kick them out of the building. When we arrived at the warehouse the agents looked like they were winding down for the day and getting ready to leave. Two female ATF agents identified as Agent Sonja Everitt and Lori Dyer were the last to leave. My dad had a conversation with them and asked them what the raid was about – what crime were they investigating? Agent Everitt said that is what they were investigating – If my Dad had committed a crime. He asked them if they found no crime was committed then they would be returning the property? Both agents affirmed they would: “Yes – Of course” they said. I asked specifically when the computers would be returned. They told me it shouldn’t be longer than a “couple of weeks.”
Agent Everitt explained their technicians were mirror the harddrives inside the computers and put that mirror copy on new harddrives and then return the computers; keeping the originals. I had a number of my personal property items taken by the raid agents from my room including some firearms and my computer equipment.
I have called the office of Agent Everitt and spoke to her two different times. The first time was about two weeks after the raid. She explained they had not gotten to the computers yet. Another time was around December. She had expected the computers to be returned to us before the end of the month. I was particularly anxious as I had been planning for several months at this point to move to Canada for ecclesiastical service over the next two years, beginning the end of December 2007.
After I had returned at the end of 2009, we still had not received any of the items they had taken. Nor was anyone charged with any crime. They had not once contacted us directly concerning the entire ordeal. It wasn’t until 2011 that I had finally made contact with the ATF office again to get an update on the case.