In October of 2007, a swat team representing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) raided the home of William York, his son, Tyler, and grandmother, Betty, and a warehouse where a Harley parts business and a gun parts business operate from. They conducted a search and seized firearms, computers, documents, and other items from those properties. For more than five years, there has never been a formal accusation let alone a prosecution of a crime.
This event has been and is a testament to the reality of the ATF and their consistent and inconsiderate abuse to the God given rights of the citizens in America. It has opened and revisited many questions and concerns about the legal and ethical capabilities of the ATF.
Below is a narration by William York.
Oct. 26, 2007
At my country home 5 miles south of Delta, Utah on the morning of Tuesday Oct 23rd, 2007, I got a phone call from the Millard County Sheriff’s dispatch at about 9 o’clock that the alarm had gone off at our family warehouse on the north end of Delta. I was told it looked like the door had been breached. I immediately drove to the warehouse and found two Sheriff Deputies (Young & Turner) standing by the single man walk-in door that had been obviously jimmied open. The paddle lock & hasp had been popped off and the metal door was partially bent back with some kind of crow bar or similar tool.
I asked the deputies what they knew and they said they had just arrived and the door looked like it did when they arrived. They said they had not gone in. Young then said “let me go to the back of the building to see if the other door was okay. As he walked around the building that was the queue to about 15 fully armed and dressed ATF swat team members to run around the building and approach me with their military rifles. I was handcuffed and physically arrested (but was never told that I was arrested). A female lead agent identified herself as special agent Everitt and showed me a search warrant. She said it was sealed. She asked if I remember her phone conversation with me a few weeks before and that she had told me she was going to cause me some trouble. “Well here I am” she said. I asked her if she had a copy of the affidavit that was used to get the warrant. She said she did not have that. She said ATF was going to drive me out to my house and conduct a search there, and then come back to the warehouse and conduct a search here. After the searches were completed she said I would be given a copy of the warrant, but not before. She never identified I was under arrest, nor what the crime the warrant was for.
I was re-handcuffed with a belly chain, put into the ATF car’s passenger front seat with Everitt driving and two other ATF goons in the back seat. We proceeded to my house. At the main street in Delta, Everitt turned left. I asked her were she was going. She said “Isn’t this the way to your house”? I told her no. I told her she should have just gone straight down the road we were on. So she turned at the next block and got back onto the correct road.
As we drove towards my house I asked her – “What did you say your name was? She answered Everitt. I asked her – “You’re that girl that made those smart ass phone calls to me earlier in the year and that I had filed a complaint to Washington DC ATF headquarters on”? She answered “Yes sir”. She then asked me who was in the house. I told her my 86 year old invalid mother and my teenage son. She asked “Is that Nathan?” I told her no. She then asked “Is it Steve”? I responded “Steve? – Who’s Steve? I don’t have a son named Steve”. She said “Oh, maybe we made a mistake on that name”.
As we got to the end of the long 4.5 mile road to make the left turn down to my house we linked up with two suburban cars full of the swat team guys then pulled over to talk. She conversed with her cohorts then asked me what to expect at my house. I told her I had two dogs. One small dog in the house and one larger dog outside. I asked them not to shoot my dogs as they might bark, but did not bite. I told them my mom would be sitting in her chair in the family room and could not move from her chair without difficulty. I said my son would be in his room – maybe still in bed. I told them the doors were all unlocked and they would not have to break in. We all then caravaned the mile down to my drive way. All the vehicles pulled up into my long drive way and parked.
I was left handcuffed in the front seat while the swat team storm trooped and entered my house. I saw them drag my son Tyler out to the front lawn handcuffed. They made him sit there while they raided my house. Then more cars arrived with another 10 or 12 ATF goons so maybe 25 or 30 total government employees were all over my house – inside and out – and all looked to be armed with rifles, or sidearms. I heard no shots fired. After about 30 minutes the lady agent that had been standing outside the car asked if I wanted to stand outside to get some fresh air. I asked her why they had busted the door open on our shop then covertly summomed me to the shop. She said “Just so we could show you how important and serious we are (the ATF)”. She said before they left that day the building would be made secure. I asked if they were going to have somebody come and replace the door. She said they would. She identified herself as Lori Dyer and gave me her business card. The card identified her as the Resident Agent in Charge at the Salt Lake City ATF office. So she was evidently the one heading up the raid. A while later Everitt came up to the car and told me that she would take the handcuffs off and I could leave the property, but that if I came back or went to the warehouse I would be handcuffed again (arrested). She said when they got all they wanted from the house they would then be heading to the warehouse to search it. I left the house in my car about 10:30 am. Around 3:00 pm I got a call from my son Tyler that the goons had finished and left. When I got home I was shown they had taken all the computers in the house which included my son’s computer in his bedroom, my mom’s old genealogy computer in her apartment (she rents the master bedroom as her own apartment at the far east end of the house), and computers out of my home office at the west end of the house. They took every gun from the house including my personal firearms, my son Tyler’s personal firearm, and my son Nathan’s personal firearms from his upstairs bedroom (he is currently deployed in Iraq with the Marines). I discovered they had taken many personal & legal records and files. What records and files they did not take they had piled up in one big mess on one side of the room. They had left with Tyler a copy of the search warrant and a copy of their computer generated receipt of the property they took. As I looked at the receipt I noticed they were items listed that were not identified on the warrant. I also noticed the warrant was good only until 10:00pm.
I then got a call from Everitt who asked me to come down to the warehouse and turn off the burglar alarm. When my son Tyler & I arrived she wanted to show me how they were going to search the 200″ x 120″ (24,000 sq ft) warehouse. They had the warehouse sectioned off and had teams going thru each section. She asked me where the bound books were at. I saw some people over at a fire safe and told her that it looked like they already had found the location. She then asked were the 4473 forms were at. I told her that most all the several thousand of firearms we had sold were machine guns and that we had very few sales of conventional guns. What conventional guns we sold were sent to dealers. We didn’t do individual sales. She said she saw on my computer the bound book record, but didn’t see any FFL numbers. I told her she hadn’t looked very well as all the sales had FFL numbers listed by them. She admitted maybe she hadn’t looked that well. Then Everitt and Dyer both explained to me that after a few days the computers would be returned with what they called a mirror image replacement hard drive that would have all our programs and files re-installed on them. They said they knew I needed my computers to carry on my business. Dyer said they would return the computers after the next Monday (Oct 29th).
My son Tyler & I then left. We decided to return back to the warehouse at 10 that evening to chase the goons off the property as that was the limit of their warrant. When we got to the warehouse the lights were off and just a few ATF goons were there. Dyer and Everitt both again said the computers would be returned in a short time. I asked Everitt about the search warrant and receipt they had left for the house search. I told her that there were several items they took and put on their receipt that were not identified on the warrant. She said yes she knew that. She said they had talked to the U.S. Attorney’s office and they had said to go ahead and take the items. I said, “So – the U.S. Attorney told you to take what ever you wanted even if it was not listed on the warrant”? She answered “No, we only took the items we identified to the U.S. Attorney that we wanted to take and they told us to go ahead”. I asked her who the attorney was they were working with. She gave me three names. I asked her which one was in charge. She said “Oh that would be Stu Waltz”. I said ”Oh – Stu Waltz”? He was the one that prosecuted me back in 1982 and lost. I asked “Is he still carrying a vendetta after all these years”? I then asked Everitt what they were going to do next. What crime were they alleging I did? She said, ”We don’t have a crime yet. That is what we are investigating”. I then asked her ”Then if you find no crime then I’ll get my property back”? She and Dyer answered “Of course”.
I noted that on the “general” search warrant signed by Federal Magistrate Brooke Wells in SLC that there is no mention of any alleged crime on the warrant. Basically the warrant just says there at the two addresses listed there is concealed certain property – then all the property they want is listed – and then Wells says she is satisfied that the listed property as listed is concealed at the addresses listed and that was some how sufficient for her to sign the warrant. NO REASON IS EVER GIVEN IN THE WARRANT OF WHY THE GOONS WANTED THE PROPERTY – TO WHAT END DO THEY GET TO SEIZE THE APPROXIMATELY 16 MILLION DOLLARS OF PROPERTY?
A few days after the raid I found the most recent bound book copy of firearms transactions print out from my computer still in a drawer in the warehouse office! It was in the drawer in plain sight.
ATF TRACE CENTER 304 262-1639 IN WV CALLED for MR WILLIAM YORK 11:28am to 435-864-3696 on Nov 2, 2007, TO TRACE TWO FIREARMS. I told them to check with Agent Everitt in SLC concerning the records.
I made a few calls to Dyer over the next few weeks to ask about the computers, but each time she said she would look into it. Nothing to date (12-14-07).
UPDATE MARCH 5th, 2008. TO DATE ATF HAS PROMISED NUMEROUS TIMES (BY PHONE CALLS PLACED TO THEM) TO RETURN THE COMPUTERS, BUT SO FAR IT HAS NOT HAPPEN!