Florida animal activist and whistle-blower, Chris Lagergren, was arrested in Key Largo, FL on September 10, 2011, by an off-duty Miami Police Sergeant named Javier Ortiz, on charges of criminal mischief related to alleged incidents as well as for allegedly trespassing at the Marine Mammal Conservancy (MMC), in Key Largo.

Chris had been a volunteer at the MMC, and was providing Florida state authorities with documented evidence of numerous County Code violations at the facility. He is now charged with:

  •  one AETA-like Felony under the Florida Animal Enterprise Protection Act (AEPA);
  • one count of Animal Enterprise Disruption;
  • two counts of trespassing; and,
  • one count of criminal mischief/vandalism.

Chris was released on a staggering $32,000 bond and is now facing a trial and a potential 8-year prison sentence.

An excerpt from an article posted in The Daily Maul on Friday, November 11, 2011 by Florida-based journalist, David Brensilver reports:

When Florida Assistant State Attorney Jonathan Raiche added a felony charge to the misdemeanor charges Arnold Christopher Lagergren was already facing, he did so without understanding just whose bidding he’d done.

According to a Florida Keys Keynoter report by senior staff writer Kevin Wadlow: “Jonathan Raiche, prosecuting the case for the Monroe County State Attorney’s Office, said adding new counts is ‘a fairly typical thing’ when a review of the case points to additional charges. … Raiche said another prosecutor alerted him to the law. ‘I reviewed the statute and it fits for bill’ for the Lagergren case, Raiche said. ‘The statute exists so we filed it.’”

Wadlow reported on September 14 — in a piece that ran in the Florida Keys Keynoter’s parent publication, The Miami Herald — that Lagergren was “charged with four misdemeanor counts of trespass and vandalism for alleged incidents at the Marine Mammal Conservancy. Police reports describe him as affiliated with the international Animal Liberation Front organization, which advocates ‘direct action’ against animal captivity. … Monroe County Court Judge Regan Ptomey set bonds totaling $30,000 on the four charges, according to court records.”

In Wadlow’s September 14 story, Lagergren’s lawyer, Richard Wunsch, was quoted as saying: “This is a very politically charged situation, obviously.” …

That the Federal Bureau of Investigation had its eyes on Lagergren suggests that the charges against him may not be limited to those that are prosecutable under Florida law. The Florida Animal Enterprise Protection Act is that state’s version of the federal Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992, which was updated in 2006 to become the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.

Continue reading article HERE.

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